The balloon industry has set “standards” for themselves claiming that releasing balloons that are hand-tied, so-called, “biodegradable” latex balloons without any attachments of ribbon is environmentally friendly. Balloons at Funerals, Memorials ect always have ribbons/string attached. Only super large balloon releases (sporting venues ect) may NOT have string or ribbon.The balloons pictured below were released to their standards. Some are months old, some are years old. Natural latex may be biodegradable, but after adding chemicals, plasticizers and artificial dyes, how natural could it be? It may degrade after several years, but it’s surely not “biodegradable.”
All released balloons, including those falsely marketed as “biodegradable latex,” return to Earth as ugly litter. They kill countless animals and cause dangerous power outages.
Balloons are also a waste of Helium, a finite resource. Balloons can travel thousands of miles and pollute the most remote and pristine places.
While some balloons burst, others just gradually deflate. But they all fall back down to Earth where they can wreak havoc on wildlife on land, sea, and air. The proof is in the photo gallery.
Dolphins, whales, turtles, and many other marine species, as well as terrestrial animals such as cows, dogs, sheep, tortoises, birds and other animals have all been hurt or killed by balloons. The animal is usually killed from the balloon blocking its digestive tract, leaving them unable to take in any more nutrients. It slowly starves to death. The animals can also become entangled in the balloon and its ribbon making the animal unable to move or eat.
Sea turtles are particularly at risk because they naturally prey on jellies, which balloons can easily be mistaken for, even with human eyes.
Balloons can take years to break down, even the so-called “biodegradable” latex ones. This gives plenty of time for it to travel and encounter many animals that may mistake it for a tasty snack, or accidentally get entangled in it.
Some states and countries have enacted laws regarding the release of balloons. The Balloon Council, and other balloon industry entities, spend millions of dollars lobbying to keep balloon releases legal. This multi-billion dollar industry encourages consumers to litter with their product. Releasing balloons should be included in already existing litter laws, after all, it’s simply littering. Check out balloon laws to learn more and find out how to help.
Mass balloon releases are illegal in several states, cities, and countries. Releasing balloons and sky lanterns should be illegal everywhere, because after all, it is simply littering.
States that have laws: California, Connecticut, Florida, Tennessee and Virginia.
Cities that have laws: Ocean City, Maryland; Louisville, Kentucky; Huntsville, Alabama; San Francisco, California; Nantucket, Massachusetts; Provincetown, Massachusetts; and Baltimore, Maryland.
Laws in other countries: Plymouth-UK, ALL of New South Wales-Australia and Sunshine Coast-Queensland-Australia.
Similar to released balloons, sky lanterns all return to earth as litter. They are often marketed as “biodegradable” or “earth- friendly,” both untrue. Sky lanterns are made with treated paper, wires and/or a bamboo ring. They can travel for miles and always land as dangerous litter. Sky lanterns have caused huge structure fires and wildfires. This flaming aerial trash has caused serious burns to humans and killed animals who eat them or become entangled in their fallen remains.
Entire countries have banned the use of sky lanterns, including Argentine, Austria, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Spain, Germany and parts of Canada. In the USA, bans include Alaska, California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Washington. Other states, including Kansas and Missouri and the New York Division of Fire Prevention and Control, are also looking into adopting changes to fire codes to regulate the use of sky lanterns.
The FAA has raised concerns over the use of floating lanterns as they can be sucked into aircraft engines.
Wildfire Today – Sky Lantern Fires
Sky lantern starts wildfire in Colorado
Wildfire Today – March 14, 2106
There is a report that a sky lantern started a wildfire in Colorado on Saturday, March 12. A writer on Pinecam.com said that between 11:00 and 11:45 p.m. one of three of the devices that were released landed in vegetation and started a small brush fire. It occurred near Pine Grove, which is another name for Pine, Colorado.
People cited for using fire balloon that may have started wildfire
Wildfire Today – July 15, 2015
A fire balloon is the suspected cause of a wildfire that started just before midnight Tuesday night on Y-Mountain near Provo, Utah. These dangerous devices that use a small flaming object to inflate and loft a plastic or paper balloon are also called sky lanterns and Chinese lanterns.