Yesterday saw a charity balloon release at our local fair. Hundreds of balloons ascended into the air on a journey eastwards. The idea, of course, is that they are found and returned and the furthest travelled win prizes. The down side, however, is that all those hundreds of balloons will descend back to earth, and more particularly, sea. A small fraction will be found and returned, the rest end up as litter, unsightly certainly but a little more dangerous too.
Balloons that fall to the sea end up being consumed by a variety of marine animals. The Marine Conservation Society have a detailed factsheet on the problems of balloons in the marine environment, they are a particular problem for turtles though other marine mammals and birds are also at risk. Biodegradable balloons make little difference as they take time to degrade, by which time the damage may have been done.
So the cause may be worthy and, as the balloons take to the air, they are certainly an attractive sight but there must be better ways of raising cash.