I remember how while I was growing up in Vijayawada, a major town in Andhra Pradesh, the balloon seller would come to the street on weekends. Me and my brother, along with other kids would run after the balloon man and get our red and orange colored balloons. For a few days at least we would wake up and go to sleep with balloon by our side, that is if it lasts that long.
I loved the balloons and I would be lying if I said that I was aware of the dangers to the environment posed by the balloon at that age or even much later.
It never occurred to me that a light, fluffy , beautiful thing could cause any damage to any one at all.
This I am sure is how we look at most of things. But now the times we are in force us to evaluate the environmental cost of every item of use be it a balloon, a ball, the ubiquitous plastic bags or anything else.
Here is an example of a balloon fest that went horribly out of turn to become a major environmental disaster. In 1986,the city of Cleveland announced that it was going to set a world record by releasing 1.5 million balloons up into the sky. It was a mass movement with a lot of hype on the television and the print media, there was much enthusiasm, great community feeling and lots of positive vibes in the air. In fact the television anchors announced that it was time to prove that Cleveland was a happening city to the world!
Soon festivities took a serious turn when an impending storm hit the city and the balloons fell all over filling the nearby lake where two local fisher men went missing.
The rescue efforts were affected because it was impossible to identify the life jackets of the fishermen among the many floating balloons.
In fact, Cleveland Balloonfest became an example of what not to do in celebration!
Kids love balloons so do adults but it is important that we consider the cost to the environment of these blown up plastic bags.
With environmental damage causing flash floods, droughts and other major catastrophes across the world, it is time to act! Say no to balloons!
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