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Balloon releases have impact on Lake Erie, expert says

Posted at 7:52 PM, Aug 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-17 19:59:08-04

Celebrations, memorials, conventions and, never forget, the great (or not so great), record-breaking, massive release of 1986 - if you haven't let one go yourself, you've probably seen a balloon release, and while all of aforementioned were well-intentioned, things didn't always end up that way in the lake.

"They're man-made debris that end up in our waterways," said Sarah Orlando, program manager for Ohio Clean Marinas. "Even if it's biodegradable, it can take days or weeks."

Orlando said balloon releases have already had an impact on our Great Lake.

"The Lake Erie Nature and Science Center in Bay Village has a wonderful rehabilitation program and they often see wildlife come in due to entanglement from balloon releases," Orlando explained. 

Orlando said she understands why the nationwide straw debate has now blown up into something else. 

RELATED: A rising concern? After straws, balloons get more scrutiny

Her focus is on prevention, "If we as humans can do our part, whether it's through a ban or it's voluntarily, that's how we impact our environment and keep a healthy lake."

We couldn't find a town or city locally that's putting an outright ban on balloons, but we did find local petitions and groups urging people to stop major releases for the sake of our lake. 

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