All released balloons return to the earth as litter, mostly in fragments, polluting both our land and seas. They, along with their attached ribbons, pose a huge threat to marine and wildlife as they resemble edible items to the animals.
When an animal ingests these fragments they are usually killed from the balloon blocking the digestive tract, leaving them unable to take in any more nutrients resulting in the animal slowly starving to death. Animals can also become entangled in the balloon and/or its ribbon rendering them unable to move or eat and again slowly starving to death.
Sea turtles are especially vulnerable to ingestion as they naturally pray on jellies which balloon fragments can easily be mistaken for.
Many stranded cetaceans in the UK and Europe undergo a necropsy and in nearly all cases, 100's of plastic fragments are found in the digestive system.
Birds too are extremely susceptible to entanglement as well as many other animals. Puffins and even seals have been documented as being injured or killed by becoming entangled in a balloons ribbon.
Marketers of balloons hide behind the PR spiel that their latex balloons are 100% bio-degradable, comparing it to the degradation of an oak leaf. What they fail to mention is that an oak leaf can take 6 months or more to degrade (some claim as long as 4 years) taking even longer to degrade at sea than on land, whilst animals are searching for their food every moment of every day.
As balloon releases are becoming more and more prevalent in celebrations, memorials and at charity events it is vital now that laws be made to put an end to the deliberate littering of our environment. There are so many other ways to commemorate occasions than something as irresponsible as balloon releases.
I hope I could have your support in this and hopefully making York the next city to ban such events. 33 councils in England have already banned such events taking place, please lets make York the next.