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[teacherartexchange] Balloon Releases - bad idea


From: Judy Decker (judy.decker_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Mar 27 2007 - 11:12:18 PDT

Dear Art Educators,

If you are planning a balloon release event, please reconsider.

Here is an excerpt from an email I received from Taffy Lee Williams, Director
New York Whale and Dolphin Action League:

The reality is that the reckless release of balloons into the
environment is a problem that sends dolphins, sea birds, endangered
turtles and even whales to their deaths each day.

Please consider the fact that although balloons drift away and out of
sight, these are still a form of trash. More likely than not,
released balloons will fall to the earth in fragments, with ribbons
and strings still attached, into the oceans or another body of water
where they are picked up by hungry sea life. As you may know,
balloons, when deflated and lying in or on the water, resemble
plankton, squid and even jellyfish. Marine animals, including sea
birds, sea turtles (all of which are endangered species), and even
seals, dolphins and whales, are on an almost constant search for food.
 Fragments of balloons, or even entire balloons, have been found in
the stomachs of these animals when their dead bodies were recovered.

Here are a few facts about balloons that may help convince you NOT to
release those balloons tomorrow:

What Goes Up Must Come Down
>Releasing balloons into the air is littering. Ultimately they
will burst and return to the earth as litter or marine debris.
>Almost all balloons released are tied with ribbons and string which
entangle, strangle and kill marine life.
>Latex balloons float for just 10 hours but can take a year or more to
degrade, long enough to repeatedly wrap around or be ingested
by turtles, sea birds and marine mammals.
>An infant sperm whale was found dead of starvation in New Jersey as
a result of swallowing an inflated Mylar balloon which had
lodged in its intestines. (Clean Virginia Waterways)
>There is a greater than 70% chance that airborne balloons or their
fragments will end up in the oceans and harm marine life.
>Scientists who work with stranded whales, dolphins, seals and sea
turtles have found balloons, parts of balloons and balloon string in
the stomachs of many of these dead animals.
> In 2003, volunteers collected 4,228 Mylar and latex balloons
just from New Jersey beaches. (Clean Ocean Action)
> In many states, the mass release of balloons is illegal, no matter
what the occasion.
Try to come up with an alternative plan.


Judy Decker
Incredible Art Department
Incredible Art Resources

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