Although balloons are just 2 per cent of the plastic which is consumed by seabirds, they are the main reason for 42 per cent of deaths connected to plastic.
You must be wondering why balloons are so lethal. Their ability to go inside the stomach cavities, to open up and to block them, makes them a deadly weapon for the marine birds. This is why it is more likely to die from a popped balloon than from a LEGO straw or brick.
Lauren Roman, who is a marine scientist at the University of Tasmania and lead author of the study, told ABC News “A hard piece of plastic has to be the absolute wrong shape and size to block a region in the birds’ gut, whereas soft rubber items can contort to get stuck,”.
“Also, balloons look particularly like seafood to the birds”, she said.
Luckily, some alternatives are eco-friendly, such as:
Ribbon dancers and kites: Not only they are more beautiful than balloons, but at the same time they are more appealing. They do not present a 24-hour decoration; they encourage the guests to dance, run, move around, and be creative. Moreover, the guests can take them home and keep them for a more extended time.
Garden spinners and pinwheels: For your party to be the centre of attention, you need radiant garden spinners and extravagant pinwheels. These two will do a lot more than balloons plus they won’t kill any birds.
Tissue Paper Pompoms – For celebrations, these brilliant and glowing tissue paper poof balls are wonderful decoration. Also, you don’t have to buy them; you can make some of them on your own.
Floating flowers – Some people use balloons in order to say goodbye to someone or to let a thing go. Instead of balloons, they can use floating flowers down a stream and have the same feeling.
Biodegradable balloons – If balloons are mandatory for your party, then, at least, choose the ones that have “biodegradable” on their package.
Although latex is made of sap from rubber trees, many balloons have additional chemicals which prevent them from degrading.
The balloons which are advertised as “biodegradable” need 6 months to a year to biodegrade. Moreover, in sea waters, they need a more extended period, because the seawater reacts as a preservative.
Furthermore, the balloons which are filled with helium can travel many miles into the ocean and starve or choke seabirds before they break down.
Mylar balloons are best to be avoided. They are made of hard plastic which never breaks down.