Posts tagged with

balloons

What Goes Up, Must Come Down!

Posted Tue, 06/26/2018 - 20:37

The summer is a celebratory time when people gather for graduations, the Fourth of July, weddings, and to enjoy time at the beach. Balloons are often used during these special occasions as decorations and gifts, and are sometimes intentionally released into the air. Unfortunately, once they go up, they must also come down; balloons that are released into the air don’t just go away. There are many decoration alternatives to balloons, such as fabric bunting, lights, paper streamers, plants, and reusable ornaments, which add some flare to any celebration!

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Balloons and the Mid-Atlantic

Posted Thu, 03/02/2017 - 11:00

Balloons are a type of marine debris that many people don’t think about. Often used for celebrations or to commemorate special events, balloons are frequently intentionally or accidentally released into the environment. Unfortunately, once they go up, they must also come down; balloons that are released into the air don’t just go away, they either get snagged on something such as tree branches or electrical wires, deflate and make their way back down, or rise until they pop and fall back to Earth where they can create a lot of problems. Balloon debris can be ingested by animals, many of which easily mistake it for real food, and can entangle wildlife, especially balloons with attached ribbons. Balloon debris can even have an economic impact on communities, contributing to dirty beaches which drive away tourists, or causing power outages from mylar balloons covered in metallic paint and their ribbons tangling in power lines. Balloon debris is a national issue and unfortunately, the Mid-Atlantic is not immune.

Balloon Marine Debris on the Washington Coast

Posted Thu, 04/07/2016 - 11:43

By: Nir Barnea, Pacific Northwest Regional Coordinator, and Emma Tonge, Intern, with the NOAA Marine Debris Program

 Many thanks go out to Russ Lewis, Heidi Pedersen, and Dana Wu for the balloon reports.

I was on a phone interview with Glenn Farley, a reporter with King 5 TV in Seattle who was preparing a report on balloons that become marine debris, when he asked, “So, how many balloons have been found along the Washington coast?” Unfortunately, I didn’t have an answer for him. “I find balloons occasionally during marine debris cleanups, and I know that others do too, but I don’t have a number for you,” I told him. Obviously, this was one of those situations where “I’ll get back to you later” was in order.

His question made me curious, and I wanted to have a better idea of the scale of this problem. How many balloons? What type? How do we get this information? It was clear that a full scale, scientific study on the number of balloons arriving on the Washington coast would take much time and effort. But, could we possibly get current anecdotal information to give us an idea of how many balloons are found?

Addressing A Rising Concern: Balloon Debris krista.e.stegemann Thu, 01/15/2015 - 11:13

By: Leah Henry

People intentionally release balloons into the environment to celebrate events and commemorate special occasions. Balloon debris often ends up in streams, rivers, and the ocean, where marine animals can ingest the balloons or become entangled by their attachments, causing injury and even death.

Although many people make the connection that when balloons go up they eventually come back down to Earth, others—even those who would never consider throwing a newspaper or candy wrapper on the ground—will release balloons accidentally or participate in a mass release of balloons without considering the end results.