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What goes up comes down and that is not always good

Letter to the Editor

POSTED: May 2, 2012 4:00 p.m.

Editor,

Balloons are fun decorations. Balloons can liven up a party. But releasing balloons into the air is littering.

Balloons pollute the environment. Balloons that float in water can last up to a year before they lose their elasticity. Even when the label claims that they are biodegradable, it can take weeks or months to dissolve.

Did you know that a mass release of balloons also can be deadly? Balloons always are found floating in our coastal waters and on our barrier islands. Jellyfish are a favorite food of dolphins, sea turtles and other marine life. When deflated balloons, especially those with attached ribbons, float in our coastal waters, they look like jellyfish to marine animals. Dolphins, sea turtles and other sea creatures eat the “jellyfish,” choke on them and can die. The ribbons also create a danger for birds. The birds become entangled in the ribbons and become maimed or die.

The mass release of balloons is now illegal in seven states. According to an 8-year-old, Georgia needs to be added to that list. The second-grader in Roswell has started a petition requesting that the legislature ban the mass release of balloons in Georgia. She needs your help. Please go online and sign the petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/georgia-politicians-make-mass-balloon-releases-illegal.  

If you have a need to celebrate or memorialize an event, instead of releasing balloons, you can plant a tree or a garden, blow bubbles, light candles or make donations to charities. If balloons still are in the program for events such as cancer walks, give everyone a balloon, a pin and a marking pen. Tell them to write on the balloon the number of years they have been cancer-free or the name of a loved one. On the count of three — everyone pops their balloons, then disposes them properly.

Spread the word about the dangers to wildlife and the environment when releasing balloons into the air. Add the petition website to your Facebook account; tell your relatives, friends, church and club members and classmates. If an 8-year-old can care enough to setup the petition, you can help her by signing it. It only takes a minute to sign it, but you can help make a change to last for generations. Help her ban the mass release of balloons in Georgia.

Peach Hubbard
President, The Dolphin Project

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