Imagine! There is a party going on, a birthday, a wedding, an anniversary…..whatever the occasion might be.
The mood is excellent (hopefully), the food is lovely, accompanied by various drinks. Your friends are there, family, you hear laughter and chatter. Above all, the weather is perfect, just as it should be.
More often than not, you will also find varicoloured balloons on such events. Tied to strings, in order to prevent them to fly away.
Then, as a big highlight, everyone takes a balloon and all at once let them fly into the blue sky! Cheering and applause, everyone assures one another, how beautiful they look, with their different colours. Children are cheering, as the balloons get smaller and smaller, until the horizon swallows them up.
People chat a bit longer maybe, then turn around to get another bite from the buffet or another glas of wine…..the balloons are soon forgotten.
But does anyone think further? What happens to these pink and blue and yellow rubberthings, after they are out of sight? Fact is, all of them will – sooner of later – come down to earth again. Some shredded to tiny pieces, others may come down intact, but all of them turned into rubbish, no doubt about that.
Now the problem starts: Many animals mistake these pieces as food, eat them and many die. That can be cows, goats and wild animals. Others – like birds – get tangled up in the strings, still attached to the balloons. Another deadly trap.
Sooner or later, most of the balloons end up in the oceans. Other animals will try to eat these “easy prey” – such as tortoises – and realise too late, that the supposed jellyfish was something else.
I guess, everyone has seen pictures of plastic trash floating in the oceans and I bet everyone is disgusted about it. But why do most forget about it, when it comes to balloons?
My parents just returned from their vacation from the island called Oléron in France. According to them it’s one of the most precious places they have seen. They told me that one day, a group of small children with their animator from the nearby hotel came to the beach, each of them a balloon in its hand. All of them let them go at once, which clearly looked great and made the children happy!
But is it worth it? Is it worth these few moments of joy, admiring some colours in the sky? Causing some more pollution at exactly this very moment? Causing the suffering and horrendous death of countless animals?
Well, who knows, maybe some of you will remember this post. Maybe at their next party, when everyone is supposed to free a balloon into the blue sky. Maybe some of you will be courageous enough to speak up – in the name of our beautiful, but so vulnerable Mother Earth!