The devastating impact of balloons on marine life

Balloons released into the air during parties and celebrations end up in the seas and oceans, where they take years to degrade, killing many animals and polluting the marine environment

In yet another video posted on Instagram, we witness the devastating impact of balloons on the marine environment. @jknowles831 shows us a collection of ocean debris, much of which consists of balloons and similar objects.

A threat to marine wildlife

Often released into the air during celebrations, balloons eventually land in seas and oceans, posing a serious threat to marine wildlife. Scientists and environmentalists have highlighted that balloons are among the most dangerous plastic debris for seabirds. Balloons are 32 times more lethal than other types of plastic ingested by seabirds.

Both latex and mylar balloons degrade very slowly in the environment. While latex is natural, it can take years to break down, and mylar, made from plastic and metal, is even more durable.

Effects on the ecosystem

As balloons disintegrate, plastic fragments enter the marine ecosystem, causing significant harm to marine life. Turtles, fish, and seabirds often mistake balloons and their ribbons for food, leading to choking, intestinal blockages, and ultimately death.

Balloons that are not ingested can still entrap marine animals. Birds can become entangled in balloon ribbons, preventing them from flying or feeding, leading to death by starvation or exposure.

Environmental impact

The environmental impact of balloons is more significant than one might imagine. Balloon production also contributes to the global plastic problem. Balloons are made of plastic, a substance derived from fossil fuels. This process further contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

Efforts to reduce balloon use

Efforts to reduce balloon use are gaining traction. Some communities and organizations are promoting more eco-friendly alternatives, such as reusable decorations and potted plants, which are not only better for the environment but also more durable. Educating the public about the risks associated with balloon use is essential to prevent further damage to our fragile marine ecosystem.


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