Friday , April 23 2021

Balloon jellyfish that kills marine life

We know the damage a plastic bag can do to a turtle.

But check out how a broken balloon looks swinging in the ocean.

While it's fun for a kid to catch a balloon at a mall or play with them at birthday parties, they can be a danger to our marine life if they are not disposed of properly as they end up looking like jellyfish.

In a 2012 study from the University of Queensland, balloons were identified as being disproportionately consumed by sea turtles based on how common they were as litter on the beaches of Queensland.

In other words, the study found that sea turtles specifically target balloons.

In fact, of all rubber items found inside dead sea turtles, 78% were balloons or balloon fragments.

Sea turtles do not have the ability to vomit, so ingestion of human waste is particularly problematic for them.

Ingestion of balloons and plastics can cause "fluctuation syndrome" in sea turtles – a painful and often lethal condition where the gases form in the digestive tract around the litter consumed. This causes the animal to float, making them vulnerable to boat attacks, predation of sharks, barnacles and sunburn.

They also can not dive in search of food or protection.

Many end up dying of slow death by starvation.

And it's not just turtles that are at risk.

A new documentary called Rubber Jellyfish by Carly Wilson hopes to bring this issue to the forefront and incite change.

In most parts of the world, balloon launch ceremonies are legal as a popular way of memorizing loved ones lost.

Since the late 1980s, balloon suppliers have labeled balloons "100% biodegradable and environmentally friendly," which has contributed to the popularity of balloon launch ceremonies.

Wilson said up-to-date research has exposed the false claim that litter is not biodegradable when it reaches salt water.

"Australian waters harbor all six of the world's endangered sea turtle species," she said.

"Our politicians in Canberra did not care. All my phone calls and emails to then-Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg and his advisers were not heard.

"Eventually I received a form letter that swept the issue under the rug. This despite a petition with over 13,000 signatures that directly addressed him and this issue. "

The film is being released in theaters in Australia starting in November.

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