It's a beautiful thought - hundreds of beautiful balloons or lanterns flowing into the sky to celebrate a momentous occasion or memorialize a person someone who has passed. But, did you ever stop to think where those balloons and strings they are attached to, and metal fragments from lanterns end up? Not where they should go.

It has been long known that much like beer and soda can rings, releasing balloons is like flying litter. And it usually doesn't make its way to a trash can when it falls. It more than likely will end up in a tree, a water system, or in a field.

So, what's the big deal?

Of course, birds can easily become tangled in the string debris. And wildlife eats those delicious looking balloons. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) points out, "Balloons can be mistaken for food, and if eaten and ingested, balloons and other marine debris can lead to loss of nutrition, internal injury, starvation, and death. String or ribbon that is often found attached to balloons can cause entanglement. String can wrap around marine life causing injury, illness, and suffocation." But even if you don't care about birds, turtles, fish, ocean life, and other wildlife, did you know releasing balloons into the air can also negatively impact our farmers?

If you live anywhere near the tri-state you know what's coming up in a couple months - harvest season. When balloons hit the ground, it's highly unlikely a farmer will be able to see it from his heavy machinery. And up it goes with the hay that's being baled for farm animals. Or ground up with our food. And, when a popped balloon hits the ground, a grazing animal might not see it and a few chomps later - it's gone. Real talk: you don't want to kill a horse do you?

Even "biodegradable" balloons don't biodegrade fast enough to not cause havoc on our farmer's livelihoods. So just don't release any balloons.

So, the next time you are thinking about a balloon release try something else. Here are some ideas: