People See Balloons Being Released And Have Exact Right Reaction

There are other ways to celebrate — and it can save lives 💙

As the weather gets warmer and summer parties begin, a simple reminder could save lives: Don't release balloons into the sky. 

Even though it's the easiest thing in the world to not do many people are forgetting to follow this advice. For example, just last week the organizers of the Indy 500 coordinated a massive release of literally hundreds of balloons at the kick-off of the famous race.

Outrage erupted from thousands of people online in response to the clip. "It's called littering and it's dangerous to wildlife," one commenter wrote on Twitter. "Please stop."

Many similar comments followed from individuals and organizations. "Nothing short of criminal environmental vandalism," Blue Planet Society added. 

That's because releasing balloons can literally kill innocent birds, sea turtles and other wildlife when the animals ingest the trash or get tangled up in balloon strings. 

Sea bird dead after getting tangled in balloon

"Balloons are not biodegradable," Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Humane Society International (HSI), told The Dodo, adding that there are alternative decorations that people can use at parties that are less harmful to our fellow creatures. "We have long discouraged the use of balloons for celebrations and other events, because of the direct threat of harm or death they pose."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has also been trying to raise awareness about the dangers of releasing balloons by showing where the balloons end up. One photograph, among many collected by USFWS shows a seabird's body tangled up a blue balloon string still attached to a scrap of black rubber. 

Balloon trash found on a beach
Balloon trash found on a beach | Facebook/USFWS

Even if you can't resist using balloons, the very last thing you should ever do is just let them float away — puncture them and put them in a trash can when you're done.

As for the hundreds of balloons that just entered the environment last week at the start of the Indy 500 — the race claimed that the types of balloons they use are biodegradable. Unfortunately, people tested that claim and found that the balloons were still mostly intact after 11 months.

You can make a big impact for wildlife by reminding your friends and family not to release balloons. You can also donate to HSUS and Blue Planet Society to help protect animals.