Green Hotels Association
    September 2017  

Balloons can be dangerous
for animals, especially birds

Bird are most at risk for choking on a balloon,
or having the balloon clog the stomach,
causing starvation.

I can remember in grade school how we all attached notes to balloons before letting them go in hopes that the balloon would be found by someone far, far away. It was exciting to think that maybe someone from New York or California would find it and contact me. It never happened. I've been to weddings and graduations where helium balloons were let go as part of the celebration. What I didn't know is the enormous amount of damage these balloons can do to our environment. I know now. Helium balloons are nothing more than floating litter. Would you throw a deflated balloon with string on the ground? Most people would not. It makes for ugly trash especially on our beaches.

According to an article on the Huffington Post website, balloons are among the top 3 most harmful pollutants threatening marine wildlife, but they also harm domestic animals such as cattle, dogs and sheep.

Seabirds are most at risk. Deflated balloons are mistaken for jellyfish or squid and are eaten by the birds. Not able to digest the balloon, it will clog the bird's stomach and the bird will eventually die of starvation. Choking is also a threat.

The ribbons or strings that are attached to the balloon are a hazard to birds because the birds can become entangled in them when the balloon lands in a tree. They may also use the materials to build a nest causing a risk factor for the hatchlings.

In its natural state, latex is biodegradable, but when processed for balloons and treated with chemicals, plasticizers and dyes, it can no longer be classified as natural. It can take a balloon from six months to four years to decompose. Shiny mylar balloons can take even longer. Think of the damage it can cause in that time.

How can you help? Explain the dangers of releasing helium balloons to your children. Don't plan balloon releases at any of your celebrations, and if you know of someone who is planning this, please discourage them from doing so.

Conley, Cheryl, Balloons can be dangerous for animals,
especially birds, Texas Wildlife Rehab Coalition, July 25, 2017

To learn more about GHA and how your property can be greener, jump to Green Hotels Association® !

or CALL 713/789-8889 TODAY!

How to Help

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.





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