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Please Don't do Helium Balloons

Please Don't do Helium Balloons

Every celebration that sends balloons to the sky is a potential nail in the metaphorical coffin of a turtle, a fish, a mutton bird or albatross

For all those adorable images of little children with chubby pink hands gaily clutching fairy party balloons, hen's parties celebrating new beginnings; or coloured balloons at sports games, weddings and funerals, we increasingly understand a shocking truth: our celebrations of new life and new beginnings might easily spell the end of another life.

While mass balloon releases has been virtually outlawed in many parts of Australia, or considered to be littering or heavy dumping, hundreds of thousands of helium balloons still escape to the environment every day and balloons are among the top three pollutants that threaten and kill marine life, along with bottles and plastic packaging.  Twenty million plastic articles enter our oceans every day and that isn't counting what ends up littering our forest floors and urban streets.

'Biodegradable Latex' is still rubbish (literally)

If your balloons are made of biodegradable latex, the suggestion that somehow these balloons instantly biodegrade into thin air is rubbish. While latex is a natural substance and is technically biodegradable, the process takes anywhere from 6 months to 4 years to decompose and in the meantime, they can wreak considerable havocas they are ingested by wildlife. 

Balloons are mostly plastic

Most balloons are made of a nylon fabric, often mylar, a metalicized polyester  available in a variety of shapes and imprinted designs. 

Explosions are a furphy

If you have been told that balloons explode and fragment at high altitudes, that's a furphy. Not all explosions result in latex fragmenting into thousands of teeny pieces. Many result in the balloon breaking into slightly smaller pieces which find their way, along with the balloon's plastic tie, into the ocean or down to land.

Plastic ties and ribbons

The plastic tie and ribbons end up around the throat of marine and animal life as well as in the stomachs, wings, fins of birds & marine life. Plastic, ribbons and latex in the gut of an animal blocks its intestines and passages to the gut – affecting a slow starvation. And it doesn't end there. When that animal dies or is eaten by another animal, the next animal inherits the problem and the cycle begins again.  

Share love and hold tight

Replace balloons with bubbles or paper pom poms, a kite or a spinner. If you absolutely must have balloons at your next party, think about where they might end up, secure them tightly and don't let them float away. 

A tip for children's gifts: Look for open-ended toys that provide a variety of valuable play opportunities for children instead of toys that have one function. 

Images: Unsplash | Florian Klauer | Michael Schaffler | Senjuti Kundu

Something incorrect here? Suggest an update below:
KT Doyle
Artist, Designer & Maker

Signed! x Thursday, 15 February 2018

Sally T

Great! Have signed it. Thursday, 17 August 2017

Febe T

Thanks for sharing this link. I will go sign it. I thought they were already banned to be honest. Obviously not. Thursday, 17 August 2017

Karen J

Please sign and share: Thursday, 17 August 2017