Over the last few years it has become more and more popular to release balloons for special occasions or for competitions. People would not do this if they knew the consequences of their actions. What goes up, must come down. Records of collected beach rubbish show that increasing numbers of balloons or balloon pieces and ribbons are being found. The consequences on animals are terrible. They get caught in the ribbons, and pieces of balloon are found in the stomachs of dead northern fulmars. While the rubber balloons in theory should degrade – unlike the plastic strings and valves – this can take several years. This is why the Plastic Soup Foundation started the ‘Die Ballon Gaat Niet Op’ (Stop balloon releases) campaign with Stichting de Noordzee (the North Sea Foundation) and Vereniging Kust & Zee (Coastal & Marine Union) in 2014. Help us to prevent balloon releases.

Kingsday

Many balloon releases are held every year to celebrate our King’s birthday. In 2017, this campaign wrote to 209 organizers requesting them not to release balloons. Of these, 53 stopped doing balloon releases from 2017 onward.

Balloon sellers often promote biodegradable balloons made of natural rubber. But it can take years before this material disappears and in the meantime it can cause huge damage to the environment, warn several entities including Imares in Wageningen. We cannot recommend highly enough not releasing balloons, not even if they are labelled as biodegradable.