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Florida non-profit highlights environmental risks of Indy 500 balloon release

Indy 500 balloon release.PNG
Posted at 10:29 PM, Apr 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-10 15:56:48-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A Florida non-profit is working to educate the public that balloon releases should not be apart of any celebrations, according to a report by WPTV. "Balloons Blow" discourages the release of balloons due to the dangers it has on the environment and wildlife.

The organization spent seven years working to stop the balloon release tradition at Clemson University football games. Last season was the first year the institutions didn't release balloons.

Now the Balloons Blow community is working to do the same with the balloon release at the pre-race celebration of the Indianapolis 500 next month.

The non-profit recently sponsored a billboard in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway area that read, "BALLOONS POLLUTE AND KILL. #StopLitteringIMS BalloonsBlow.org." Despite being taken down only 24 hours later by the advertising company, that ad still resides on the Balloons Blow Facebook Page.

Alex Damron, Director of Communications for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, issued a statement saying that the balloon release will still happen next month. The full statement reads:

"The balloon release remains a part of the Indianapolis 500 pre-race program. However, we continue listening to and evaluating feedback from multiple perspectives on the topic. We’re reaching out to several stakeholders and talking with experts to fully understand the impact of this practice and determine its status in the years ahead.

In the interview with WPTV, Danielle Vosburg, co-founder of Balloons Blow, said animals don't realize that humans are polluting the planet with garbage.

"They just think everything is food," Vosburg said. "They’re just out here munching on this stuff then their belly gets full of garbage."

Vosburg grew up cleaning area beaches with her family since she was young and gradually saw more and more balloons washing up the shore. By 2011 she started Balloons Blow to raise awareness of the environmental dangers balloons and helium pose.

Balloons Blow now has almost 68,000 likes on Facebook.

"We just need more people to speak up and put more pressure on these organizations who are littering the planet we all share, " Vosburg said.

To learn more about the non-profit's mission to end the Indy 500 balloon release, visit their website.