Birthday Littering

ProperJobI am aware of a lot of likes, comments and follows for my blog from many other bloggers and I do check out the sites of most of the names that appear on my notifications.

I admit to not following back a lot of the sites that I see on there, although I often feel guilty that, having liked my nonsense, I am not returning the compliment to those fellow bloggers who are often working much harder than me on issues such as accuracy, facts, logic, sense, grammar and spilling.

The reason I don’t ‘follow back’ most of the time though is that I don’t really feel I’m the site’s target demographic and I have no interest if it is mainly about make-up, women’s (or men’s actually) fashion, ghost hunting, religion, blatantly selling stuff or parenting small children.

Actually, there are some sites that advertise themselves as being about parenting that I do follow back because they are not as much just about parenting and are really entertainingly written about life in general, so they can squeeze in.

I would like to appeal to that last group particularly with this post though. You may have already seen what was a popular post, Not so Fantastic Plastic , regarding the plastics and beach cleaning that I get involved with. You’ll be pleased to hear that, due to the high energy seas and winds of Storm Eleanor hitting us recently, that I visited the beach three separate times over the last week and managed to clear many kilos of huge lumps of rubbish with some other volunteers as part of an emergency in-between official cleans effort.

My appeal to any parents reading though is this.

If you are having a little party for your cherub, inviting lots of other peoples little cherubs, please think twice about providing helium-filled party balloons.



Because, when you hand out those innocent looking, brightly coloured little floating bags of fun to the leaving guests, they make that little cherub happy for approximately two minutes. Then they let go of it as they’re being loaded into the parents car and they cry uncontrollably as if their whole world has been lost and they’ll never be happy again.

That’s not the bit that tugs at my heartstrings. One sweet offered to said young emotional wreck often changes that situation immediately.

It’s that sodding brightly coloured bag of not-as-much-fun-now, making its way upwards into the sky.

Eventually it will burst, possibly many tens or even hundreds of miles from where it was released. Chances are that it will end up in the sea, where we know there’s already a load of our junk. And then a turtle, dolphin or whale will mistake it for a jellyfish, eat it and die with its guts in a latexy mess.

That’s the facts. Two minutes of unbearably cute scenes of small cherub grinning with balloon for a picture (possibly for uploading to show on social media to other people who are actually still there too and are also sharing a picture of their unbelievably cute grinning little cherub on social media) that you all took versus balloon potentially floating off afterwards, flying for days, floating and breaking up in the sea for decades and possibly being eaten and killing something.

For those that don’t think balloons could look like jellyfish in the oceans, here are some spot the difference pictures which, perhaps, with your trained and keen intellect that has grown up knowing what a balloon is, you will find easy enough. However, imagine you are a creature that doesn’t.


Did you spot it? The one for the 80 year old child’s birthday?

Yep, you would have thought that at least some wisdom might have accrued by that age, although the propensity for tantrums might be similar.

The same goes for any events you see advertised as  ‘celebrating with a balloon release’. Effectively, this is littering. This is the same as nonchalantly throwing your empty bottle of spring water (another rant on that stuff building up) out of the vehicle window as you are driving. You don’t care where it ends up, you don’t have it any more so it’s effectively gone to your tiny little mind.

It goes somewhere, it doesn’t disappear in a puff of smoke or into an alternative quantum dimension (as far as we know). It’s going to be around for hundreds of years.

So, please, as well as thinking about your plastics usage and the power you have as a consumer of these things to seek out alternative ways of buying and disposing of stuff better, have a second thought for the novelty balloon issue too.


30 Replies to “Birthday Littering”

  1. Too bloody true.
    I’d also ask people to think what they do what they do with with their dog poo. Personally I knock mine (well the dogs actually) into the canal with a stick – supplied free by the tow path, or if too far away into the bushes so it is unreachable. There are times of course where it has to be picked up – but use your common sense & don’t leave it dangling like unwanted Xmas decorations from the branches & stop these bloody plastic bags getting into the environment. It ain’t rocket science.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good point, often see those poo bags hanging on trees in the woods where I take Gwynnik. I like to think people had the good intention of picking it up on the way back and just forgot. The Forestry Commisssion themselves recommend ‘stick and flick’ on their properties, when we’re in other public places I counter having to carry the bags for a while by putting them in a special little pouch designed for the purpose.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh don’t I know it, do check out the linked post if you haven’t already! Clearing up is incumbent on us all now but switching on people’s awareness to their current thoughtlessness is so important too. Hopefully I can do my bit without being too preachy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Seeing litter in beautiful scenery makes me so sad!
    We’ve started carrying an extra bag to take away other people’s litter on hikes. I find it is always the worst near beaches. Poor sea creatures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, the sea issue is a lot more complex and more scope for accidental littering than just the deliberate ignorance of the fair-weather walkers (I’m assuming that keen regular walkers like you and myself are the more switched on to the ‘leave nothing but footsteps’ ethos.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep. I have to admit I used to leave banana skins/apple cores in bushes…but now we aim to leave no trace…so we bring everything home.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Having thought about that, I do still leave those particular two things, as you say, in bushes and undergrowth.

        The way I see it, they’re important usable energy resources for whatever creepy crawlies can use them. Orange peel is a different matter, that is visually loud, difficult for insects to break downand takes months to disappear, banana skins and apple cores go brown and invisible (in undergrowth) as you’re looking at it it seems!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The reason I stopped was because a local told me that the apple seeds are not native species, so it’s best to take them home. It’s not quite the same as in the UK…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I did not expect to read what I read in this post. But, what I read made me happy in a sad way. Namely that I have seen my child let loose a balloon we’d dutifully tied to his little arm and watching it float into the sky. Unable to see beyond the pretty floaty object, sometimes we need a reminder of the consequences of these thoughtless actions. I appreciate the reminder, and for the surprise in finding–all kidding aside–serious and even scary things aren’t always wearing business suits or masks, but brightly-colored stretchy plastic, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a good post – we just don’t think when we let off balloons and those fashionable Chinese lanterns. Really made me think when I saw it on Sunday Blog Share (BUYB). I have shared your link on my PainPals regular feature Monday Magic Inspiring Blogs for You! & pinned, tweeted etc.Happy New Year, Claire x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, no one wants to stop ‘fun’, least of all me who looks at life with fun goggles on. However, a bit of thought to how we got here, realising the mistakes and just deciding to stop it increasing now we’re here would be good.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You must read them all until you find it… (Shakesperean villain aside: Mwohahaha, she’ll never see through my cunning plan to get my post read numbers up… oh, the poor innocent… ) 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes – I have lost the rag with some groups planning balloon releases. “Oh it’s symbolic” says they “what’s symbolic about a load of dead wildlife?” says I. And those Chinese lanterns are just as bad, causing fires. And horrible damage to livestock and wildlife inland. I fear a larger soapbox is required!

    Liked by 1 person

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