PLANS to release thousands of “poppy balloons” in memory of fallen soldiers have been condemned by animal lovers.
They reckon the release could result in the deaths of creatures which choke to death on deflated balloons.
The Marine Conservation Society even said it was “mobilising troops” to stop the tribute.
The campaign, called ‘Let a Poppy Fly’, is calling for the release red helium balloons on Saturday, November 7, the day before Remembrance Sunday.
Already 85 ‘balloon release organisers’ have been signed up to help run the event across the UK, including about a dozen in central Scotland.
And dedicated Facebook page has attracted more than 2,000 ‘likes’ as the momentum builds.
The page says: “We are trying to make the Let a Poppy Fly a national, annual event, to be held on the Saturday.”
But a spokeswoman for the Marine Conservation Society hit out: “This is a really bad idea and perhaps not the best way to commemorate the fallen.
“We are mobilising our troops to get them to see sense.”
Emma Cunningham, pollution campaigns officer for the society, said: “We don’t know how many thousands of balloons with poppies will be released.
“Once balloons are released they can become a serious form of marine pollution.
“The two main threats are through ingestion – eating a balloon or pieces of balloon due to mistaking them for prey items such as jellyfish – and from getting tangled up in balloon string or ribbon.”
“It’s the poppies they are attaching to the balloons as well. It’s a double littering effect.
“Even a biodegradable item can still remain in the marine environment for four years.”
The event organisers did not respond to a request to comment.
A post on their Facebook page states: “We have constantly stated no string or ribbon is to be used. And silicon is a natural product and is biodegradable, I hope this clears all the rumour and rubbish that is being spread around at this time.”
Supporters are told: “We are working to recommend the best suppliers for the balloons, they should be silicon Poppy Red and 12in max and be filled with helium, all items including poppies to be bio-degradable.”