Saturday, April 12, 2008

Up Up and Into the Ocean

A balloon is a bag filled with heated air or a light gas causing it to rise and float in the air. A balloon ascends because the heated air or gas inside is lighter and less dense than the surrounding air. Balloons are made in a variety of sizes, shapes, and designs. In addition to their use as children's toys and party decorations, balloons and have other uses. More about balloons.

Many people are unaware that balloon releases can result in littering and harm to wildlife. Once balloons are out of sight, they can float many miles before descending back to the land or the sea semi-inflated. Once balloons are released, they can become a serious form of marine pollution. A long list of marine creatures, including dolphins, whales, turtles, fish, and seabirds, have been reported with balloons in their stomachs. It is believed that they mistake balloons and other buoyant plastics for their natural prey e.g. jellyfish and squid, and eat them. Balloons have been identified in the stomachs of animals, meaning they do not quickly breakdown, likely leading to death. Ribbons and string tied to balloons can lead to entanglement.

Greener Alternatives

Windsocks (remember those?)

Flowering plants and bulbs could be planted to spell out a message. Kites!

If you do use balloons, make sure not to release them and dispose of properly.
Source: Save the Whales

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