A reminder: Don't release your balloons, no matter how cute the Instagram picture might be.
After gliding peacefully through the sky, there's a chance that those balloons are going to end up in the ocean. And if they do, it can be devastating to the plants and animals who call the ocean home.
Megan McCuller, a marine biologist who was aboard the NOAA Okeanos Explorer during a recent dive, shared a GIF that showed such devastation. She notes that it was the second balloon they'd seen on that dive, and unfortunately, inside this one was a squat lobster.
It's unknown how the little crustacean got inside, or how it will fare now that its home is a piece of trash.
McCuller continued to show people the other trash they noticed on the dive, which included everything from Budweiser cans to discarded rain gear to Solo cups.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and conservation groups have long warned against releasing balloon. In addition to ending up as lobster homes, fish often mistake popped balloons for food, and wind up eating the trash. Plus, the strings on balloons can eventually choke fish or birds.
One organization, Balloons Blow, is dedicated entirely to spreading the word about the negative impact that balloons can have.
It encourages people not just to find alternatives but to properly discard of any balloons they might find at their local beaches.
If you still want the pizazz of a balloon at a celebration, there are eco-friendly alternatives that make great party decor. You can make your own ribbon streamers from recycled materials, or get a colorful, personalized banner to convey a message.