Balloons that float hundreds of miles to blight holiday beaches: Isles of Scilly among beauty spots bombarded with deflated party staples which can do serious damage to landscapes and wildlife
- These pictures show the party staples can end up scarring the environment
- The Isles of Scilly have been bombarded with deflated balloons
- Some have floated hundreds of miles before coming to rest on the shores
Balloons might seem like innocent fun at birthdays and village fetes – but what goes up must come down.
And as these pictures show, the party staples can end up scarring the environment. The Isles of Scilly have been bombarded with deflated balloons that not only spoil the rugged landscape and holiday beaches, but do serious damage to its wildlife.
In some cases, they have blown or floated hundreds of miles before coming to rest on the archipelago’s shores.
Astonishingly, one balloon – found 470 miles from Brussels – carried the logo of the Belgian banking group Belfius (right), another was found from Ireland (left)
Logos on the balloons reveal they have come from across the UK and Ireland.
One carried the logo of an estate agent 300 miles away in west London, and another of a cafe 240 miles away in Dublin. Others came from Harpenden in Hertfordshire, Worthing in West Sussex, Portsmouth and Cardiff.
Astonishingly, one balloon – found 470 miles from Brussels – carried the logo of the Belgian banking group Belfius.
Another had apparently travelled from Spain. It carried the phrase ‘te quiero tanto’, meaning ‘I love you so much’.
Most abundant are those given away free with Happy Meals at McDonald’s restaurants. The nearest possible source is 38 miles away in Penzance, Cornwall.
Another had apparently travelled from Spain (right). It carried the phrase ‘te quiero tanto’, meaning ‘I love you so much’
Balloons tend to be made from latex, which is biodegradable. But if they end up in the sea, they can take more than a year to decompose and fish and marine animals can mistake them for food. Balloons block their digestive tract and they slowly starve to death.
The islands have 26 sites of special scientific interest. Nikki Banfield of the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust said the area has seen a significant rise in the number of balloons blown from the mainland since 2016.
‘During the first week of July we collected 20-30 in a week,’ she said. ‘Our seabird ecologist found one that was being played with by Atlantic Grey seals – a rare species. They could have got tangled up in its trailing string or even tried to eat it. We don’t want to say don’t use balloons, but people need to think about how they use them.’