Editor, The Independent:
A citizen recently contacted us with concern about an event planned at Bentley Bright Beginnings to honor law enforcement, called Blue Balloon Day. The event in itself is wonderful – it is important to foster good relationships between citizens and police at a young age. Parts of the day, like wearing blue, are wonderful.
The reason DARLING CETACEANS was informed of the event is because of the planned balloon release. What goes up, does come down and when balloons come down they can be hundreds of miles away in fields, lakes, woods and backyards.
When balloons are released to honor or celebrate occasions, the result is birds, turtles and other wildlife dying from ingesting the balloons or becoming entangled in the string. It is misleading to think that latex balloons are biodegradable, and therefore safe. In ideal conditions, a latex balloon takes months to biodegrade, which is more than enough time for an animal to eat it.
If you would not give a balloon to a child to eat, why would you let animals eat it? Besides being deadly, balloons hanging from trees or lying on the ground are a disgust. When I walk up and down the shores of Lake Michigan, it makes me ashamed when I see the beaches trashed with balloons.
From pictures I have seen of Owosso, it is a beautiful area that I cannot imagine anyone wants trashed. So, please discourage balloon releases. Law enforcement should fine those that release them under current littering ordinances. If those ordinances do not exist, local government should create ordinances that ban balloon releases. Do not glorify releases in the press. If you hear about a group that is planning to have a balloon release or that has a tradition of balloon releases, contact them to offer options that are good for the community, instead, like planting a butterfly garden or trees. Education is also key and that starts with my message to you that I hope you will extend to the Owosso community. Balloons blow, don’t let them go.
Thanks and Best Fishes!
Joel “Whaleguy” Darling, president & co-founder
DARLING CETACEANS, Muskegon, MI
(Editor’s Note: This letter was relayed to Owosso Public Schools Sup’t. Dr. Andrea Tuttle who said that in retrospect something better would have been done – and will be for the future.
On a similar activity as balloon releases, a proposed law has been introduced in the Legislature to ban Sky Lanterns, which have been used in area activities during recent years.)