…Don’t Let Them Go! That’s the message we’re trying to get out. When we first started cleaning Florida’s beaches over 18 years ago with our parents, we would never find balloons. As the years went on we would find a few more here & there. Now, both in our early 20’s, we continue our weekly beach cleanups & every year we find more and more balloons. Of course we collect much more plastic than ever as well, but the disturbing thing about balloon pollution is that it is “celebrating by littering.” Since we started keeping track in 2011, we have collected thousands of balloons. This year’s collection is also growing rapidly. Although the Mylar balloons are more visible, we find many more latex balloons. It is very alarming, the amount of trash that gets washed ashore on our beaches, but it is particularly troubling that people release balloons on purpose to celebrate, to honor loved ones, or to just mindlessly watch it float away. This is the reason we had to create www.BalloonsBlow.org, a website dedicated to educating people about the danger & destruction that released balloons can cause. Both marine & terrestrial animals commonly mistake them for food causing intestinal blockage, or get entangled in the ribbons, both leading to a slow & agonizing death. There are countless websites & Facebook pages promoting balloon releases. The balloon industry & balloon sellers market latex balloons as “environmentally-friendly” & “biodegradable” & therefore harmless, but we show proof their claims are not true: www.balloonsblow.org/photo-gallery Power outages caused by Mylar balloons contacting electrical power lines effect hundreds of thousands of people each year. Helium is also a nonrenewable resource required for much more important things. There are laws concerning balloon releases in several states in the U.S. & many countries around the world, yet many unknowing celebrators, grieving groups, & others, are arranging balloon releases worldwide. Honoring a loved one or celebrating by releasing balloons (litter that can choke, entangle, & kill wildlife, livestock, or pets) is irresponsible & should be stopped altogether. Hopefully people will realize this danger & get creative & earth-friendly with their celebrations, like these alternatives: www.balloonsblow.org/environmentally-friendly-alternatives , & we will keep trying to get the word out that: Balloons Blow…Don’t Let Them Go!