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Gail S Hennessey's picture
Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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Should Releasing Helium Balloons into the Sky be BANNED?

Have you ever released a helium filled balloon into the sky? Have you sent up a birthday balloon, a balloon in memory of a loved one or a balloon with a message attached in hopes someone will find it and contact you?
Some people think helium balloons should be banned. The helium balloons eventually fall and end up cluttering the land, waters and harming wildlife. Balloons bobbing in the ocean are mistaken for food and swallowed by marine life. Other wildlife get tangled in the strings attached to the balloons. It is estimated that helium balloons rank 6th in debris harmful to marine life. Additionally, released balloons that eventually find their way onto a tree branch detract from the beauty of the tree. Too many balloons in the sky could also be a danger to air traffic.
Another reason for a ban calling to end all helium balloons is that the gas, helium, is becoming scare. Once it is used up, there is no way to create more helium. It is a non-renewable resource. Many feel that the remaining Earth’s helium should be used for more important uses, industrial, medical and scientific. For example, did you know that MRI scans to help detect tissue and organ damage, use helium as a cooling agent for the machine? Some other uses of helium include uses in supersonic wind tunnels and satellite instruments. Helium is also combined with oxygen for divers to use in their air tanks.
Some people are calling for bans on helium balloons. Some states including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Arizona, New York , Florida, Tennessee, Virginia and Rhode Island are listening to the call to rethink the release of helium balloons in the air, trying to passing legislation to ban or limit such balloon releases. California hasn’t allowed foil balloons to be released into the air since 1990. Florida and Connecticut restrict the number of balloons that can be released. Other groups are making the decision to limit their use of helium balloons. An example is Clemson University in South Carolina. At each of their home football games, thousands of helium filled balloons were released. The practice was stopped in 2018 when environmental groups questioned the practice.
People concerned about the environment in other countries such as Great Britain are also debating the issue of releasing balloons into the sky. Australia, is also establishing new environmental laws to ban such balloon use.
What do YOU think of this issue?
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