There's an interesting little story on the BBC this morning: it's all about the concerns being expressed by marine conservationists regarding a popular activity, the mass release of balloons. This is something that my antenna have never noticed as being a problem but it seems that many of these balloons finish up in the marine environment with animals dying from ingesting the balloons. These days a lot of the balloons are filled with the very light gas helium so that even if released well away from the coast they can still come down in the sea. As evidence the BBC cites a balloon from the city of Gloucester being found on a beach in Northumberland! According to the Marine Conservation Society the problems are getting worse year by year. They are hoping that organisers of events that release these balloons will look at alternatives; using air rather than helium to reduce the distance the balloons will travel is one suggestion.
This is an interesting example of the way a seemingly innocuous activity can have a devastating effect on nature. I wonder how many other things we do also have an undesired consequence for wildlife, I bet there are quite a few.