Stop releasing balloons that harm; plant a tree
The Virginia House of Delegates introduced House Bill 2159, banning the release of balloons into the air, which adds weight to an existing law already regarding 50 balloons released in an hour. Media outlets continue to provide coverage for vigils and memorials where dozens of latex and Mylar balloons are released. People continue to organize balloon releases helping to ease their grief — but this must stop. Balloons are harmful to the environment and to animals. Each balloon can travel thousands of miles, creating pollution in our waterways, causing power outages, and killing or entangling marine life. Latex (from rubber) balloons can take years to degrade and Mylar balloons are considered nonbiodegradable — which is why this practice must be stopped. This feel-good action is more harmful than not. The media can help by refusing to cover occasions where balloons are released. People should consider taking the money that would have been spent on balloons and putting it to better use. How about planting a tree in your neighborhood? A tree will be a living memorial to your loved one, provide fond memories, and offer habitat for birds and shade on a hot day to humans. Its branches will point to the sky where those balloons would have gone — so stop releasing balloons.
Ann Marie Keim.