Friday, February 7, 2014

Balloons and Fireworks, worth the cost to the receiving waters?

NYE Melbourne 2014 Photo courtesy of Bob Winters, Educating Options

Who doesn't love colourful fireworks and balloons. They are enchanting, they frighten and excite. They are both symbols of youthful joy and celebration and yet there is a darker side.

Australia is known throughout the world for it's wonderful New Years Eve displays, massive and awe inspiring. It would be hard to enjoy the celebration quite as much knowing that people and our environment are being put at risk. 

Emily Sohn in ABC Science Discovery News here shares information from researchers that everyone immediately downwind of a pyrotechnic display is exposed to toxic metals that can become poisonous when heated.

Modelling could show us where the wind will blow these pyrotechnic wastes are deposited and we already know that wherever they land they will, in the course of time, make their way to the sea. They will fall on roofs and roads, washed into stormwater drains or be deposited directly into our waterways causing unknown damage. It is good to hear now that new greener alternatives are available - let your local event organisers know.

Beautiful balloons, too, are nasty customers once they make their way into the sea. As with other plastics they appear as tasty tidbits to many marine denizens. Dead turtles commonly have balloons clogging their digestion, causing starvation and death.

We can share the love and still prevent the death of our ocean icons. Remind your party organisers to keep balloons on a leash and never release them into the air. 

Let's keep our oceans clean.

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