Reader: Balloons are litter, helium balloons are even worse


Like many a multi-generational family in Manistee, I placed my chairs (nine of them) for this year’s Fourth of July parade early to get a prime spot.

When I returned, I had yellow helium balloons tied with nylon string to three of the chairs. Looking up and down the streets, there were several hundred of the yellow balloons tied to chairs. The balloons were a political advertisement for the re-election of the current Manistee probate judge.

I immediately removed the balloons from my chairs, popped them and stuck the string and balloon in my pocket for later disposal. I did this not because I don’t like the judge, but because I did not want to contribute to the, likely 10 percent, of the balloons that will end up in Lake Michigan or in people’s trees. Balloons, when released and allowed to drift, just like an errant firework, are litter and should be treated as such.

Several years ago, I took a winter walk along the length of Nordhouse Dunes. Along the walk I found hundreds of nylon strings with deflated balloons washed up on shore and mixed with natural beach debris. I am sure anyone else who has walked the shore has seen a similar site.

I don’t understand how people don’t think letting garbage float away in the air is not littering. Moreover, how does an educated politician from this area, where the woods and water are precious, and a pristine environment is as key to our economy as any factory think that tying balloons to chairs is a good idea?

Throughout the course of the parade I saw no less than 30 of those yellow balloons floating, headed toward the lake. To me this would be a negative advertisement for the judge, unless he is looking to be re-elected by fish and ducks.

Oh, and don’t even get me started on how many little American flags I saw laying on the ground after the parade.

Al Gorman


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