Say No to Balloon and Sky Lantern Releases!
Our nonprofit supports Ohio's only national wildlife refuge complex along the Lake Erie coastline. The 10,000 acres of critical coastal habitat is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for migratory birds, fish, and wildlife. Each day, the refuge's small team of biologists and volunteers encounter dozens of balloons in our waterways and marshes. One of our seasonal staff members came in with armfuls of balloons she picked up on a public tour. Courtney picked up 26 balloons during a two-hour tour of Cedar Point National Wildlife Refuge, the largest contiguous marsh on Lake Erie. Refuge visitors see her as a conservation super hero for stopping the bus EVERY TIME she saw a balloon to go pick it up.
Why are balloons so dangerous?
When a balloon is let go, it will blow away, only to burst or deflate & return to pollute the Earth. They can travel thousands of miles before landing in a forest, field, lake or ocean. No ecosystem is safe. Balloon pollution is a global issue.
Many animals – marine & terrestrial, wild & domestic - easily mistake them for food or get entangled in any string. When ingested, balloons can block an animal’s digestive tract & cause it to slowly starve to death. It is extremely common for sea turtles & other marine creatures to consume balloon litter because the burst remains resemble jellies. Terrestrial animals such as the desert tortoise, bighorn sheep & others, mistake them as nutrient rich vegetation. Any attached ribbon or string can entangle an animal that comes in contact with it, also causing a painful death.
What about sky lanterns?
Sky lanterns are an uncontrollable fire hazard. They have sparked massive wildfires & structure fires - burning homes. People have suffered serious burns as the dripping fuel falls from the swaying lantern or the lantern suddenly drops from the sky. Falsely marketed as biodegradable, the chemically treated paper, bamboo ring, metal wires, & fuel cell can last over a year- polluting the planet & risking harm to other lives. Animals have become entangled in them or have ingested the parts - a slow agonizing death as the wires pierce internal organs. The bamboo ring can become a death trap to any curious animal. Releasing sky lanterns is in violation of international fire codes which require that fires be constantly attended until extinguished.
Celebrate with these alternatives to balloon or sky lantern releases.