I know at one point in all of our lives (myself included) we've let helium filled balloons go from our hands and watched as they float away into the sky. It may have seemed cool to watch something that was just in your hands float away in the air and see how long you can watch it, but there's something about that we don't always think about. Those balloons have to come down at some point, and when it does, it's littering. It's one thing if it lands in a tree, but it can also land in water, or around an animals neck, which is what volunteers have discovered.

The numbers are staggering. According to Freep, Surveys from volunteer trash pickup events sponsored by the environmental nonprofit, Alliance for the Great Lakes, found more than 18,000 balloons, balloon pieces or balloon strings along Great Lakes shorelines between 2016 and last year. That's JUST the Great Lakes. It may look "pretty" but those balloons can literally kill animals. We need to start thinking about some of these traditions and re-thinking how we can improve them.