No more balloon release at the Indy 500

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Every year, thousands of multicolored balloons are released over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to kick off the Indy 500. While this fan favorite might be considered the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” it is a deadly tradition that needs to end.  

Balloon debris entangles birds, fish, and a number of other animals, strangling them or damaging their limbs. In addition, animals commonly mistake balloons for food and ingest them, which harms or even kills them.

Even "biodegradable" balloons persist as litter for months to years.

These massive balloon releases result in thousands of pieces of trash eventually falling to the ground and into waterways. At best, the debris becomes unsightly pollution. Frequently, however, this tradition poses a dangerous threat to wildlife and domestic animals. The garbage can easily make its way through air currents and rivers to the ocean, where it contributes to massive trash islands and the death of sea turtles, whales, and other marine life.

While the US Fish and Wildlife Service is opposed to balloon releases and has warned people of the damage they cause, it is up to us to end the outdated and dangerous spectacle. Please stop the practice of opening the Indianapolis 500 race with a balloon release. What looks good for for a few moments causes irreversible damage to our planet.