November 8th 2011
Dark side of the balloon
They may evoke freedom and give our hearts a lift at their release but, sadly, there is another impact balloons can have which is heart breaking and something we may never have considered. The following letter from a reader, Lyndie Malan on Great Keppel Island, explains why.
Released balloons drift out to sea! When a turtle eats a balloon that has been carelessly released into the sky, it forms a blockage in the turtle's intestine. This starts a long, slow miserable period of suffering for the creature. The blockage also prevents the turtle from peeing, and its bladder expands more and more. Some turtles have been found, totally emaciated, but with a bladder three times the normal size. Recent tests are showing that turtles are ingesting more and more of these cruel things.
When I approached a woman in a balloon shop and heard her assertion that these balloons are "biodegradable" I challenged her to prove it by eating three right there. Surprisingly, she declined.
I live on a turtle breeding island off Queensland and have personally held 17 emaciated turtles in my arms as they oh so slowly starve to death, maybe not all from balloons, or other plastic, but quite possibly a contributing factor.
So before you release the string on your next balloon, please consider a small turtle, flopping about in an emaciated state dying and bursting to pee.
Great Keppel Island Turtle Lady
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