• Outdoors Outdoors

Fishermen share frustrations about common problem floating in our oceans: 'One of the pet peeves'

"It's the most common piece of trash we see out here."

"It's the most common piece of trash we see out here."

Photo Credit: iStock

A California fisherman just showed the world the horrifying truth about what happens to some of America's most popular party decorations when we're done with them.

Mylar balloons — those metallic helium balloons, often in custom shapes and with printed graphics — are a staple of all kinds of parties and events, from birthdays, to graduations, to retirement parties and more. Their themed appearances are a lot of fun, but their impact on the environment isn't.

@rvpilar How Mylar Balloons are Harming Our Environment . Mylar balloons are made of non-biodegradable material that can take hundreds of years to decompose, clogging up oceans and harming marine life. . #MylarBalloons #balloons #oceantrash #oceanplastic #Fishing #CCAcalifornia #RVPilar #OceanLove #plasticfreeseas #CleanOcean #greatpacificgarbagepatch ♬ original sound - RV Pilar

The fishermen of the RV Pilar (@rvpilar) explained the issue in a recent video on the vessel's TikTok account. "One of the pet peeves that we have as fishermen out here are these mylar balloons," said one of the fishermen.

In the video, the crew of the RV Pilar uses a hook to fish a pair of star-shaped mylar balloons out of the ocean, where they're floating on the surface.

"If you look at this, you can't break this stuff. It takes so much strength," says the fisherman, demonstrating how hard he has to pull to tear the mylar even after a tear has been started by the hook. "So it doesn't break down in the ocean."

There are 170 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean, and the fisherman reveals that a disturbing number of them are mylar. "This mylar is horrible. It's the most common piece of trash we see out here," he claims. "It's one of the things we want to bring attention to on the RV Pilar."

Plastic trash in the ocean isn't just ugly litter. It's dangerous for sea life, which can get tangled in it or accidentally eat it. As it breaks down over time, it turns into microplastics, tiny plastic fragments that have been linked to diseases like cancer.

There is some hope for change, however. "Laguna Beach, Calif. just banned balloons," said a commenter. "Hopefully it'll be statewide soon."

Until then, individuals can help by choosing alternatives to plastic, like recyclable or compostable party decorations made from paper.

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