Aquarium urges people to stop using balloons in order to protect sea life

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The staff at Jenkinson’s Aquarium in Point Pleasant Beach is urging the public to think twice about using balloons for celebrations, to protect sea life.

The request comes after New Jersey resident Edmund Haemmerle took photos of a bushel of balloons that washed up on the shore of Island Beach State Park. Haemmerle says that his family took the balloons out of the ocean. Jenkinson’s then posted the photos to remind the public that balloons pose a danger to the animals.

“They end up in the ocean, they end up with animals ingesting them,” says aquarium supervisor Linelle Smith.

Smith says that sea turtles, fish and birds are among the animals that are at risk.

“They don’t understand that it’s not a food item. [Balloons] are brightly colored. They’re attracted to them,” she says. “Sea turtles will ingest the pieces that will clog up their intestinal track.”

User: Jenkinson's Aquarium To: link

Smith says that it is not just the balloon pieces that are a danger, but the strings that are typically attached to balloons as well.

"The animals cannot only ingest them and that gets clogged up in their digestive system, but they can also get entangled,” she says.

Smith says that she recommends that the public uses alternatives to balloons for celebrations. And if anyone sees a balloon on the beach?

“Please pick it up. The way to properly dispose of a balloon is to cut it into pieces. Even if you’re having a party,” she says. “You want to cut up the string into small pieces that's not ingestible or is not going to get stuck on an animal's leg or across their beak."

Some shore towns like Atlantic City, Margate and Ventnor have banned balloon releases to help protect the environment.

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