Celebrate marriage without balloons

And I thought I was the only moron in this tiny little island who bothers about the balloon release by Marriage Central last Saturday. I’m surprised that there are other “morons like me’ out there who care too.
I was cheering in my heart when I read the Straits Times Forum today. I could never said it better than you.

I HEARD an advertisement on the radio for the event Real Love Works 2009, at the Marina Barrage last Saturday.
While I applaud the organiser, Marriage Central, on its efforts to promote longevity of marriage in Singapore, I would like to ask if it is truly necessary to mass-release ‘love balloons’ as part of the event.
While hundreds of balloons flying off into the sky may be a pretty sight, people need to remember that the balloons do not just vanish or vaporise. Once they burst or deflate, they come back down to earth. While latex balloons are biodegradable in the long run, in the short run, they are nothing but litter and pollution.
As the Marina Barrage is at the water’s edge, the balloons that end up in the sea are eaten by dolphins, turtles, sharks and other sea life. They can cause serious problems in these creatures’ digestive systems, resulting in pain and sometimes death.
Ingestion of too much latex can cause the sea creatures to become too buoyant. As a result, they will not be able to dive into the sea to hunt for food, and they will starve. Ribbons and strings that are often tied to these balloons are not biodegradable and can cause entanglement and even strangulation.
Balloons that end up on land also result in litter problems. In fact, the mass release of balloons is so problematic, it is illegal in some states in the United States.
By all means, celebrate marriage and long-term commitment. But please do so in an ecologically considerate way, without causing harm to the natural environment.
Sheri Kristen Goh (Ms)

I find it amusing that people don’t see releasing of balloon as a form of littering. Just because the balloon look nice and goes up doesn’t mean that you are not littering when you let go of the balloon. I hope this forum letter will prompt NEA and CAAS to take action against future balloon release. I personally think that the 500 balloons limit per event is too much.
Check out the blog article by Wild Shores of Singapore.

8 comments

  1. Bravo for highlighting the issues surrounding mass balloon releases!
    I’m mulling how best to raise awareness of the impact of such releases.

  2. Well isn’t it apparent that they have nothing else better to do to divert attention from the fundamental issues, crisis on hand, than this?
    I thought this is only happening in countries like in China where there is limited ways to celebrate/promote longevity of marriage in Singapore. Perhaps that why At Teo from the YPAP is going to China to learn from them?

  3. I am Anita Fam, the chairperson of the Marriage Central Advisory Board. I take personal responsibility for our environmental insensitivity to the mass release of balloons at Real Love [email protected] Barrage last Saturday.
    To be honest, this issue did not occur to us when the planning of this event was first initiated as we focused on the positive symbolism of ‘love is in the air’ – of couples renewing their marriage vows and releasing their promises/blessing into the air.
    Thank you for surfacing this issue. For me, it has been a learning experience. Since this matter was brought to my knowledge, I have done a lot of reading up on this issue. I will f be one of those who will spread the message of its environmental impact from hereon.

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