Dr Peter Wothers, a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a University of Cambridge chemist, will use this year’s Royal Institution Christmas Lectures to argue that there will be “serious problems” in 30 to 50 years’ time if the lighter-than-air gas continues to be wasted in party balloons.
I’ve been saying this for over ten years. It sounds silly, but the point is obvious, when you think about it: unlike most elements, when you discard helium it floats to near the top of our atmosphere. There’s not a lot of it, and it’s not available as part of a non-gaseous substance the way hydrogen is. We should not be wasting it.