We're starting a new feature here on the BayBlog called the BayBlog Question of the Week. Each week we'll take a question submitted through the Chesapeake Bay Program website and answer it here for all to read.
This week's question comes from Elaine. She asked:
I would like to use balloons as promotional give-aways, but I am concerned for the environment. What is your position on balloons and the environment?
The Chesapeake Bay Program does not have an official position on balloons and the environment. I did some research on this topic and found that releasing balloons into the air is the issue that can have environmental consequences. When balloons are released into the air and eventually deflate, they can fall back to earth and become litter on our ground and in our waterways. In this 2004 Baltimore Sun article, a staff member with the National Aquarium in Baltimore noted that animals such as fish, gulls, dolphins and sea turtles can confuse deflated balloons with food.
If you decide to use balloons as promotional giveaways, perhaps you could include a note that encourages users to dispose of the balloons properly and not intentionally release them into the air. Because we all love balloons -- we just don't want them to become litter, or worse, food for wildlife and aquatic life in the Chesapeake Bay and other waterways.
And remember, if you're outside and you see a deflated balloon lying on the ground or in a tree, pick it up! We all need to do our part to help keep litter out of our parks, beaches and waterways.
Do you have a question about the Chesapeake Bay? Please send it to us through our web comment form. Your question might be chosen for our next BayBlog Question of the Week!