Most of the time they end up in the ocean where many sea creatures mistake them for food. When an animal eats the balloon it blocks it digestive system leading to starvation. The balloon itself is not the only dangerous part, the string can also be wrapped around many animals and cause serious damage, even suffocation. Some balloon are marked as 'biodegradable' but they take a very long time to decompose, even longer in the water, where so many end up.
There are a number of states that have banned the release of balloons including California, Connecticut, New York, and Tennessee. The Blue Ocean Society does studies in New England from whale watch boats and found that balloons were the most common trash found.
Many people release a bunch of balloons to celebrate or remember someone but there are many alternative ways to celebrate. Instead of releasing a hoard of balloons plant a pollinator garden, fly a big group of kites, and use banners or streamers to decorate. You can also float native flowers down a stream, create wildflower seed bombs, create a rock garden or even blow bubbles!
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