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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Yuval’s struggle to save sea turtles

Fifth grader from Hod Hasharon recruits classmates to launch campaign aimed at reducing devastating effect of helium balloons on marine life. ‘He’s not stopping here,’ mother says

Yuval Adler’s parents took him on a family trip to the Israeli Sea Turtle Rescue Center in Michmoret, where the 10-year-old learned that many sea turtles die because they swallow helium balloons, which usually fall into the sea. Yuval immediately decided to take action and launch a campaign against the use of the colorful balloons.
Yuval, a fifth grader at the Yigal Alon Elementary School in Hod Hasharon, enthusiastically explains that “people release a large amount of balloons into the air on birthdays and rallies. I told my classmates that a significant amount of these balloons return to the earth and cause irreversible damage to the animals. The saltwater makes the balloons transparent, so animals such as sea turtles and whales think they are jellyfish. They eat them and die.”
After researching the issue further, Yuval prepared a presentation titled “Where balloons fly to” and recruited his classmates and teachers to a campaign aimed at stopping the use of balloons at rallies and raising awareness to the dangers facing marine life.
Yuval’s homeroom teacher Tami Shaham, says proudly: “It was all Yuval’s initiative. He studied the issue, recruited his friends, and the classes in school have begun to prepare an updated project to save sea turtles who get tangled up in balloons.”
Principal Levana Nuederfer added: “One kid’s passion inspired the entire school. The students prepared a project, made banners and built stands where they hand out informative material on the subject. Their work has yielded results.”
Yuval was not satisfied with raining awareness, so he sent an emotional letter to Hod Hasharon Mayor Hai Adiv, asking that during this year’s rally to mark the anniversary of Ron Arad’s captivity organizers will refrain from releasing 400 blue balloons into the air. The mayor was touched by the request, and just one balloon was released at the rally.
Yuval’s mother Hila said her son has “set a goal to reduce the devastating effect helium balloons have on nature, and he is not stopping at the mayor’s office. Yuval plans to turn to Knesset members and suggest they enact a law forbidding the release of these balloons in Israel.”
Yuval and his friends are very pleased with the results of their campaign. “During the rally for Ron Arad on Saturday only one balloon was released,” he said with a smile. “This means that my friends and I have succeeded in our struggle and raised awareness to the sea turtle issue.”