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Possible Law - Balloon Ban

So, it's your birthday and to help you celebrate someone's brought along balloons.

You tie it up and reach for some cake. But then your balloon floats off into the sky!

At some point you've probably seen something like this happen, or maybe you’ve even a whole lot of balloons let off on purpose. But have you ever wondered: what actually happens to those balloons that drift off?

KID 1: I think they might pop and go into the ocean

BIRTHDAY KID: Ah, maybe up into space?

KID 2: Not really sure. maybe the ocean or something?

Well it turns out they often end up inside animals' stomachs. Let's follow this weird balloon on its journey to see how. Tests show helium-filled balloons will often get as high as 10kms before they expand too much and pop. They can travel quite a long way by then, and what goes up must come down.

So that leftover rubbish falls back down to Earth, sometimes as larger bits, sometimes as smaller bits. But large or small, it can be a big problem. Brightly coloured bits of plastic or rubbish often get munched by wildlife because they mistake it for food. And because popped balloon bits often drift out to sea, or get washed there, it's a major problem for marine creatures too.

For example, here on Australia's Lord Howe Island researchers have found plastic inside around two thirds of the island's seabirds. And a lot of that plastic is actually from balloons. All that rubbish is really bad for animals because it can get stuck in their stomachs and stop them from digesting food.

Just last year, the CSIRO found balloons are one of the top three most harmful pollutants for marine wildlife. And with helium balloons regularly used for science, parties, commemorations, expeditions, and whatever this is, there is plenty of it out there causing problems. That's why some conservation and wildlife groups say it's time for helium-filled balloons to be banned! Or at least banned from outdoor events.

And a new campaign headed up by Zoos Victoria says there are plenty of great alternatives to replace balloons.

JENNY GRAY, CEO ZOOS VICTORIA: We don't want to be the fun police so what we're doing is asking you to blow bubbles instead.

Yep - bubbles! And if they aren't your thing, they've also suggested paper balloons, flags or banners, candles, kites, bunting or floating flowers as alternatives because they'll all degrade much faster than plastic!

So next time you have a party maybe consider switching to one of these alternatives. It won't change how much fun you have, but it could give these guys reason to celebrate too.

No balloons were harmed in the making of this story!

Created By
Andy Chen
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