Balloons are bright and colourful and popular for parties and eye-catching for kids, but unfortunately they are very bad for the environment. If we want to protect the Great Barrier Reef and our wildlife, we need to say NO to balloons.
When we were kids, our generation didn’t put much thought or emphasis on the environment and we didn’t realise how much damage balloons could do, but now we know better.
And living in North Queensland with the Great Barrier Reef on our doorstep, we have an even bigger responsibility to make sure we don’t use products that will effect our marine life and beautiful coastline.
If each one of us proactively chooses to not buy or use balloons, we can help the environment and save our wildlife.
Here are four reasons we should say ‘NO’ to balloons:
[headline size=”small” align=”left”]1. They turn into litter[/headline]
When balloons are released, strong winds often blow them out to sea or they make their way into drains and waterways. Eventually deflated balloons or balloon fragments end up on our beaches, in wildlife nesting areas and floating in our ocean.
This not only creates litter but is dangerous for wildlife. It is only when individuals pick up rubbish or organisations like Tangaroa Blue do regular beach clean ups that these balloon remnants are removed.
[headline size=”small” align=”left”]2. They kill wildlife[/headline]
Marine animals often mistake balloons for food as floating balloon fragments can look similar to jellyfish.
However once an animal swallows a balloon, it blocks their insides.
For a turtle, it can take up to four months to pass balloon fragments through their intestines and during this time they are not able to dive for food so they often starve.
Then there are also the strings attached to the balloons that can entangle birds, turtles, fish and other marine life.
[headline size=”small” align=”left”]3. They take a long time to decompose[/headline]
Although natural latex is biodegradable, processed latex such as balloons take a very long time to decompose.
Whether balloons are on beaches or floating in the ocean, they can take up to four years to decompose, which is a long time when you think about how much damage they can do in that time. And the balloon string can create even more damage.
[headline size=”small” align=”left”]4. There are better alternatives[/headline]
Let’s be honest, balloons are something we can all easily live without.
Whether celebrating a birthday, an anniversary, a funeral, a school fete or even a new store opening, there are many other alternatives that can be just as effective to commemorate an occasion instead of releasing balloons.
Some alternative ideas include planting a tree, lighting candles, throwing rose petals, writing a poem or hiring an entertainer. All these are better for the environment and won’t harm our wildlife or turn into litter that will be in the environment for decades.
[headline size=”small” align=”left”]travel nq fast facts:[/headline]
- Balloons are one of the most frequently found items on beaches
- Plastic straws are also popular at kids parties but equally damaging for the environment