Releasing Celebratory Balloons Kills Wildlife, So Try One Of These Beautiful Alternatives Instead

Rest assured, the most gruesome photos of animals killed simply by balloons have not been included.

Credit: Realistic Wedding

Credit: Realistic Wedding

Though people have been warning for years that releasing balloons into the air is dangerous for both wildlife and the environment, hoards of people continue to engage in the practice every year as a means of celebration. Balloon releases are often used to commemorate the loss of someone’s life or to bless a marriage or ceremony.

However well-intentioned and joyous these moments may be, there is a dark side to them that activists and rescuers often see and that wild animals frequently die from. As harmless as the release of even one balloon may seem, it could still mean the difference between life and death for animals.

While the balloon industry has attempted to convince consumers that releasing balloons is safe, they fail to mention that the small particles that balloons burst into are still very dangerous for animals, especially marine life. It’s already false that all balloons burst into minuscule pieces, as all balloons react differently to air pressure, but even as tiny pieces the latex can resemble a jellyfish or other meal for a wildlife.

Credit: David Steely

Credit: David Steely

When it looks like food, animals such as sea turtles, dolphins, and various fish will easily swallow up the latex. The latex then lodges itself in the animal’s digestive tract, causing the creature to refrain from eating and die slowly from starvation.

In addition to the harmful latex pieces, the string that’s attached to the balloon is often its own hazard when it reaches the ground. Birds are frequently found to be injured or killed after entangling themselves in the string or even strangling themselves with it.

Not only is it horrifying how latex and plastic affects animals, but it’s also terrible for our planet. Even the most “biodegradable” balloons will take years to break down naturally, which means it still poses a threat to all animals until it’s completely gone.

Here’s what you can do:

There are many viable alternatives to balloon releases that can be used in celebrations and below are a few of the most beautiful and successful.

Bubbles are a cute, fun, and silly way to engage everyone in attendance and create dazzling photos that truly commemorate an event. You can buy mini bubble bottles that, yes, contribute to plastic waste in landfills but at least they aren’t thrown five miles into the air and animals aren’t at their mercy.

Credit: Walton Outdoors

Credit: Walton Outdoors

Luminaries are becoming increasingly common as a longer-lasting way of remembering someone and using the light as a tribute. To create a luminary, simply take a paper bag or a glass jar and place a candle in it. If you want to create a message, opt for a paper bag to write the note and everyone in attendance can take one home as a keepsake.

Planting a tree is perhaps the best way to celebrate life and love, as it’s actually beneficial for the environment and gives life to the planet that humans so casually destroy everyday. An alternative, easier method for giving back to nature is to have guests disperse milkweed seeds, which will help the decreasing monarch butterfly population. Be sure to have permission from local government to plant or disperse the plant life.

Please consider and suggest one of these options the next time a balloon release is scheduled to take place, as you could wind up saving a life.

Would you use one of these alternative methods of celebration? Please share, like, and comment on this article!

This article (Releasing Celebratory Balloons Kills Wildlife, So Try One Of These Beautiful Alternatives Instead) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and

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