“With great power comes great responsibility”

So said Spiderman.

It’s a pity those who manufactured, sold, or brought this balloon didn’t show any responsibility.

I’m not sure what it’s made of — some sort of petrochemical material no doubt. ‘Mylar‘ is one brand make for these helium-filled balloons.

Already the metallic coating of this Spiderman balloon is disintegrating, as I found out when trying to deflate it and squash it up.

There are many reported cases of animals dying from ingesting discarded balloons, (here’s a random one from 2019), and, particularly vulnable, so too are seabirds .

But these issues are short term. Long term, balloons are not biodegradable. They will eventually degrade of course, breaking down into ever smaller and smaller pieces which will, in time, wash down through the streams and rivers to the sea where they will end up in the food chain.

Another issue which I hadn’t appreciated is that the metallic foil, actually conducts electricity. There is a risk therefore that one may become entangled on a power line or electrical equipment, causing a power cut1Adams, Kathy. 2011. ‘What Are Mylar Balloons?’, EHow.com (eHow.com) <https://www.ehow.com/info_8162674_mylar-balloons.html#:~:text=is%20sealed%20properly.-,Safety%20Concerns,-Since%20Mylar%20is> [accessed 16 August 2022].

Chinese lanterns released indiscriminately in the countryside were a danger to livestock.

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