Environmentalists warn: Balloons provide no joy for wildlife

National

Environmental advocates are raising awareness about the dangers of balloons for wildlife in the Great Lakes and elsewhere.

The Detroit Free Press reports volunteers for the Alliance for the Great Lakes picked up more than 18,000 balloons, balloon pieces or balloon strings along Great Lakes shorelines from 2016 to 2018.

Lara O’Brien studies at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability. She says an Australian study found balloons are the highest-risk plastic debris for seabirds. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist in Virginia says necropsies commonly reveal tangled balloon ribbons in the guts of birds and marine animals.

Five states regulate balloon releases. Eight are considering legislation. Industry organization the Balloon Council has spent more than $1 million lobbying to change or stop restrictions.

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