#EndSkyLitter - Protect the environment
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How do balloon and lanterns affects wildlife and the environment?
Communities and families often release balloons or lanterns into the sky as part of memorials for lost loved ones. However, this is usually done without consideration for how it can affect wildlife and the surrounding environments.
Balloon releases pose a great risk to wildlife, as many creatures have been know to mistake them food and attempt to eat them. This poses a massive choke hazard for the animals and can lead to further complications. Not only that but the strings and ropes that are attached to the balloons can see animals and birds get entangled which can have deadly consequences. Plus, as theses balloons break down they release chemicals into the environment that can cause chaos in the natural environment, polluting water supplier and damaging plant life.
Sky lanterns are typically made from paper and wire, and though paper is biodegradable the wire poses an entanglement threat. Not only that, but these lanterns also offer a fire risk, as to fly they use an open flame. This risk increases during dry summers when it is easier for grass and forests to catch fire.
What about Biodegradables?
Studies have shown that biodegradable balloons take up to 10 years to break down, that is 10 years too long for the wildlife that they put at risk. Before biodegradables have broken down they can be ingested by wildlife.
How can we protect the environment?
We want to see worldwide bans on balloon releases and sky lanterns to put an end to sky litter. There are a number of localised bans around the world, in the UK over 70 councils have banned balloon releases, you can see a full list of thoses here. In the United States this issue has recently come back into the limelight, the organization Balloons Blow has a comprehensive list of laws that are in places, bills that are active and bills that have failed to pass that you can view here.
Ocean Helper has set up this petition calling for these bans across the world and you can do your part by signing and sharing it!
Want to do more? Check your local laws and if you are in an area that has yet to ban balloon and sky lantern releases then contact your local council/ government to make your case. Make your voice heard!
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