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Expert explains the problematic truth behind balloon releases: 'There are so many other ways'

"Thank you for trying to bring awareness!"

"Thank you for trying to bring awareness!"

Photo Credit: TikTok

Ever wonder where those colorful balloons released into the sky end up? One TikTok touches on the impact they can have.

On TikTok, Less Waste Laura (@lesswastelaura) encourages viewers to stop releasing balloons and lanterns, as their impact on the environment is harmful and long-lasting.


Balloon releases seriously harm our environment, and causes problems for others down the line. How else can we honour the lives of those we've loved and lost?❤️

♬ original sound - Less Waste Laura

The referenced video shows hundreds of balloons being released in memory of a lost loved one, but Laura insists there are additional ways to honor someone without damaging the environment.

"I know that it's so hard when people go through grief, to know how to deal with it," she says, "but things like balloon releases are so damaging for the environment, and there are so many other ways that you can celebrate and mark someone's life."

In the video, the balloons take mere seconds to release, but they'll take years (potentially hundreds, depending on the material) to degrade. Before they break down, they pose a significant risk to wildlife

Seabirds, turtles, and other marine life are severely threatened by balloons. Latex balloons are the deadliest marine debris for seabirds. A study showed that ingestion is "32 times more likely to result in death than ingesting hard plastic."

Lanterns aren't a safe alternative, either. They can also be ingested by animals and present a fire risk, especially in dry summer months.

There are many beautiful and safe options for honoring your loved ones. Instead of balloons or lanterns, try planting trees, painting rocks, or creating a memory garden

While it's a delicate topic for the comments, many users agreed that there are many other ways to pay tribute to your loved one without causing any harm.

"Light a candle, grow a plant, but don't do this," said one user.

Another commented: "Thank you for trying to bring awareness! So so heartbreaking [and] frustrating seeing people still do this."

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