Having balloons at a summer party is just part of the fun children expect and parents provide, but unfortunately millions of balloons are released into the air and many end up in the ocean. Balloons are often made of Mylar, a polyester film also known (more ominously) as biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate. Who would imagine that of all the plastic junk floating in the ocean, balloons present the greatest threat to seabirds?! According to a recently published study by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Australia, although balloons constituted only 5% of the plastic that seabirds ingested, balloons and other soft plastics were responsible for 40% of deaths. Even balloons made of natural latex, a rubber, can harm wildlife and take years to biodegrade. So, get creative with your party and skip the balloons next time, and urge your community not to release balloons at events. What’s not there will not be missed, and ultimately seabirds and other marine animals will benefit. Read more: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-36585-9

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