I came across a sad sight today while I was carrying out a survey on one of our beaches. This is the remains of an auk, tangled up in ribbons which had been tied onto the bottom of a balloon. This is the 4th balloon I have found littering the reserve in the last two days.
It is tragic to think that a balloon, which probably amused a human for only a few minutes or hours before being forgotten, can go on to have such serious consequences for wildlife. It's not only birds like this auk which have been entangled and starved/drowned, turtles, whales and dolphins can eat balloons, mistaking them for jellyfish, blocking their digestive systems and causing them to starve to death.
If you like balloons all is not lost though. Check out the link below to a leaflet from the Marine Conservation Society, it outlines the dangers that balloons pose to marine wildlife and then gives some excellent ideas of how to minimise the damage, such as using latex balloons which will eventually biodegrade, and not filling them with helium, so they won't float away and become litter. They also have some great ideas if you are planning to use balloons as part of an event! Lizy