MOB Balloon Pickup / Plastic Pollution

It’s Valentine’s Day – Time to Love the Ocean

By: Environmental, Schools

Please Pick up All Those Escaped Valentine’s Day Balloons!

The American Sailing Association has been actively promoting the “Plastic Pollution Purge” campaign to help rid our ocean of deadly plastic marine debris. While the task is monumental, it is often saddled with recurring seasonal events that increase the number of plastics that arrive in our local waters. Valentine’s Day is one of those days. Along with Mother’s Day and graduation season, people celebrate with balloons and inevitably some of those balloons end up in the ocean with harmful effects on our wildlife.

On Saturday, February 15, the day after Valentine’s Day, SailTime Newport Beach will sponsor a balloon pickup on the ocean.  Lots of helium balloons are given on Valentine’s Day, many of which escape and end up in the ocean. When the soft plastics enter the marine ecosystem it is then that a cycle begins where wildlife mistakes these plastics for food and inevitably ingests them. Soft plastics such as balloons are significantly worse for marine life and result in a higher probability of death. 

By joining forces with the sailing community,  sailing organizations such as SailTime Newport Beach aim to make a difference in our environment. 

ASA wants to encourage its schools and affiliates to band together for a worldwide balloon clean up day on February 15th, 2020.  ASA will be awarding special gifts to schools that share photos with ASA via social media or via email so that we can share them on our social media channels. 

The Hazards of Balloons Released Into The Air:

  • The Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Coastal Cleanup reports that from 2008 to 2016 almost 300,000 balloons were found along U.S. beaches. That is well over 31,000 balloons per year.
  • Ph.D. student Lauren Roman published in the journal Scientific Reports, a study that found that although hard plastic accounts for the vast majority of debris ingested it is far less likely to kill than soft plastics such as balloons. “Although soft plastics accounted for just 5 percent of the items ingested they were responsible for more than 40 percent of the mortalities. Balloons or balloon fragments were the marine debris most likely to cause mortality, and they killed almost one in five of the seabirds that ingested them. As similar research into plastic ingestion by sea turtles has found, it appears that while hard plastic fragments may pass quickly through the gut, soft plastics are more likely to become compacted and cause fatal obstructions.”
  • According to a 2016 article published in Marine Policy, balloon debris ranks just behind fishing lines and plastic bags, as the greatest risk to marine wildlife. This is due to the fact that balloons are usually tied with long pieces of ribbon or string, which can easily entangle birds and other wildlife

Information for the SailTime Newport Event

Volunteers are needed – there is no charge.  

Meet at the SailTiime office, 201 E. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, 

11:00 am and go out for 3 – 4 hours.  

Bring lunch and drinks.  

RSVP to SailTime by Friday, Feb. 14 at 714-878-7700.

SailTime Newport Beach