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What goes up must come down, including balloons

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POSTED: May 8, 2012 11:00 a.m.
Photo courtesy of NOAA/

This photo shows how released balloons, especially those with string or ribbon, can become harmful or even deadly for birds. Released balloons also can be dangerous to a number of animals, including dolphin and sea turtles.

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Balloons. Balloons are fun decorations. Balloons can liven up a party. But releasing balloons into the air is littering.

Balloons pollute the environment. Balloons that float in water can last up to a year before they lose their elasticity. Even when the label claims that they are biodegradable, it can take weeks or months for them to dissolve.

Did you know the mass release of balloons can also be deadly? Balloons are always found floating in our coastal waters and on our barrier islands.

Jellyfish are a favorite food of dolphins, sea turtles and other marine life. When deflated balloons — especially those with attached ribbons — float in our coastal waters, they look like jellyfish to marine animals. Dolphins, sea turtles and other sea creatures mistakenly eat the balloons, choke on them and sometimes die.

The ribbons also create a danger for birds, which become entangled in the ribbons and can become maimed or die.

The mass release of balloons is now illegal in seven states. According to Cameron Koporc, Georgia needs to be added to that list. Cameron is an 8-year-old second-grader in Roswell. She started a petition requesting that the Legislature ban the mass release of balloons in Georgia.

Cameron needs your help. Please go online and sign her petition: www.change.org/petitions/georgia-politicians-make-mass-balloon-releases-illegal.

If you have a need to celebrate or memorialize an event, instead of releasing balloons, you can plant a tree or a garden, blow bubbles, light candles or make donations to charities.

If balloons are still in the program for events such as cancer walks, give everyone a balloon, a pin and a marking pen. Tell them to write on the balloon the number of years they have been cancer-free or the name of a loved one. On the count of three — everyone bursts their balloons, then disposes of them properly.

Spread the word about the dangers to wildlife and the environment when releasing balloons into the air. Add the website to your Facebook account. Tell your relatives, friends, church and club members, classmates.

If an 8-year-old can care enough to set up the petition, you can help her by signing it. It only takes a minute to sign it, but you can help make a change to last for generations. Help Cameron ban the mass release of balloons in Georgia.

 

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