Show the Ocean Some Love This Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day Aftermath Feb 2013

Valentine’s Day 2013 Aftermath

It’s 7:00 AM on Friday, February 14, 2014 and you just remembered what day it is. You jump out of bed, race over to Ralphs ( in your PJ’s) and grab a bouquet of roses and a bunch of pink and red balloons. You’ve got to get home before she wakes up, and you’re cutting it close, so you shove the balloons in the car as quickly as possible. Sh*t! You let one go.

Flash forward to a week later. Our Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Watch volunteers are out on the water with Captain Michael Quill, LA Waterkeeper’s MPA Project Manager, near Point Dume, monitoring the MPAs and passing out maps to fishing violators. Over the course of the 4 hour trip, volunteers pull in about 15 Valentine’s Day balloons from the water. We find balloons almost every time we are out there, but this time of year it’s the worst.

When balloons are released into the sky, they don’t disintegrate. What goes up must come down. While some balloons burst, others just gradually deflate, and either way, they fall back down to earth, destroying wildlife on land and sea. Dolphins, turtles, whales, and many other marine species have been hurt or killed by balloons. Mistaking it for food, balloons block marine life’s digestive tracts, starving them to death. Marine life can also accidentally get entangled in the balloon’s ribbon, restricting their ability to move and feed.

Bottom line, balloons are dangerous when you let them go. Even biodegradable latex balloons are a danger as they can take several months or even years to break down. So, this Valentine’s Day, stick to roses and ditch the balloons. I promise she’ll still love you, and our ocean will love you, too.

– Rachel Stich, Communications Manager

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