Letters to the Editor

Balloon releases pose danger to birds, turtles

On Nov. 9, Indian Trace Elementary School in Weston held a pep rally and dozens of Mylar stringed balloons were released into the atmosphere.

Why this practice is entertaining is beyond me.

In my four years as a marine conservationist and board member for the Surfrider Foundation’s Miami Chapter, I have seen firsthand sea turtles and wildlife lose their lives because of balloon matter andlitter, such as latex bits and pieces uncovered in necropsies, and yards of balloon string that entangle and kill seabirds as well as sea turtles.

Why do we need balloon releases anyway? Why do we encourage our youth to litter and discard single use plastic items, when there are countless research studies on the damage that plastic does to our environment?

South Florida is home to the Everglades, coral reefs, and one of the most ecologically diverse ecosystems in all of North America.

When I emailed Weston Mayor Daniel Stermer about this incident, he made his answer clear: This is a school event, and schools are exempt from the Florida statute banning balloon releases.

Is this the type of example we want to give our children? “It’s OK to break the law if you have a government office behind you; you’re above the law.”

Maybe that’s what’s so wrong with politics these days. I encourage anyone who understands the harmful affects of marine litter, particularly balloons, to get in touch with Mayor Stermer. He needs some encouragement to pass a balloon release ordinance in Weston.

As residents, we need to stick up for what matters to us.

We may not be able to control the politics in Washington, but we certainly can take control here in our communities.

Marilu C. Flores,