Editors note: This letter is in response to the editorial titled “Up Up and Away.”
Twenty-nine years ago, my daughter and her first grade classmates signed a petition to stop balloon launches because of the danger to the marine life. The petition was a result of the announcement of an upcoming celebration at the senior center in Oyster Bay. It was sent to the center director with a copy to the Enterprise Pilot. Happily, the center director read the petition and accompanying letter and canceled the balloon launch. I thought that by now citizens and organizations would be aware of the dangers of balloon releases.
I am sure those children, now adults, understand the importance of balloon release bans.
The original letter from May 31, 1990:
Children For The Environment
Please don’t feed balloons to the whales and turtles. Did you know that “when helium balloons are released, they are often blown by strong winds into the ocean. Even if the sea is hundreds of miles away, balloons can still land there. The salt water in the ocean washes off a balloon’s color, making it look clear. Sometimes sea creatures think balloons are food and eat them. Sea turtles, for example, eat jellyfish—which look and wiggle just like clear balloons. If a turtle makes a mistake and eats a balloon, the balloon can block its stomach. So the turtle can starve to death. Whales sometimes accidentally swallow balloons that are floating in the ocean. The balloons get stuck in the whale’s stomach and can kill the creature!”
This is a quote from an article I read to my class just days before I saw the picture of the balloon launch on the front page of the Oyster Bay Enterprise Pilot. I hope that the fourth annual balloon launch will be the last.
Please, seniors, help us kids save the earth.
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