Biologists call for balloon ban

Via the Beeb:

Biologists call for balloon ban

By Danny Savage
North of England correspondent, BBC News

Marine conservationists are calling for a ban on mass balloon releases because birds and mammals are dying from eating discarded balloons.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) says organisers of balloon releases should look for different ways to publicise their cause.

The Balloon Association says there is no proof latex balloons kill animals.

But the MCS says it has photographs of dead marine birds and mammals washed up on the beach in Blackpool.

A graphic photo from the examination of a dead turtle shows an old balloon in its gut. The suspicion is that the turtle thought the brightly coloured fragment floating on the water was something edible.

It appears the consequences were fatal.

There is also an image of a decomposed razorbill – a bird which lives on islands off the British coast during the breeding season – with its legs entangled in the string from a balloon.

It is not clear if this is what killed the bird, but it certainly would have hindered its mobility.

‘Vast’ problem

Gill Bell, from the MCS, says the problem is getting worse year after year.

“In the last 10 years we have seen a 260% increase in the number of balloons we are finding on our beaches.

“And we know that these are just the balloons on the beaches. We believe there are many more in the water.

“A recent international survey found nearly 60,000 balloons over a two-day period last year. Who knows how many are in the sea. It’s vast and we just don’t know.”

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