To the Editor:
I believe that helium balloons should be banned. They are slowly destroying our planet and will put us in a tougher spot environmentally.
Helium is an extremely limited and rare resource and has multiple other (more practical) uses that may come in handy more often than balloons. While only 6-7 percent of the total amount of helium in the world is used for inflating balloons, imagine having only 100 people in your school or workplace. How much of a difference would there be if seven of them left? Now think about seven more leaving yearly. In the end, you are left with barely anybody! Just like that, the helium on our planet is being consumed. Helium is used to run medical devices and is a core source for rocket-ship launchings. How would you feel if we couldn’t explore space or cure sicknesses because you had a bouquet of balloons at your birthday party?
Have you thought about the time it takes for decomposition to kick in? A lot of balloons are made of a material that will never decompose. For balloons that can decompose, it may take six to 48 months. The balloons that are not biodegradable are going to pollute our planet forever. Non-biodegradable balloons are called Mylar and look shiny, so if you just want to avoid those ones, it will make a big impact.
Many animals confuse balloons for food and they cannot digest the rubber. Sometimes people release their balloons just to have fun. Once the balloon gets high enough, it will pop and land in a place like an animal’s habitat and it may be consumed. If the animal eats a balloon they cannot digest it and will probably die. Balloons and trash have destroyed many animals’ homes. A loss of habitat means that they are pretty much stranded in a place or situation that is not compatible for their needs. If an animal survives ingesting the balloon, their home may still be unsuitable for their needs as a result of pollution.
Balloons are useless. It may be fun to inhale the helium and sound like a chipmunk for a few seconds, but I think that you could give that up if the whole earth depended on it. In conclusion, there is no benefit for our environment from these balloons and they should definitely be banned.
— Eve Kazanjian (Grade 5), Hopkinton