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Plastic Pollution Doesn’t Fly with Us. Why We Should Ban Intentional Balloon Releases

Plastic Pollution Doesn’t Fly with Us. Why We Should Ban Intentional Balloon Releases

November 29, 2017

We often associate balloons with birthdays, gender reveal parties, or memorial services, but these seemingly harmless floating objects are a growing threat to our environment. Balloons are consistently found during beach and park cleanups, based on nationwide data collected by the Ocean Conservancy. Even more concerning is that a balloon’s final resting place is within our waterways, adding to plastic pollution.

To an unsuspecting bird or fish, a balloon can appear to be a jellyfish or algae, making it difficult for them to distinguish food from trash. In fact, according to the United Nations, at least 267 species of seabirds, turtles, seals, sea lions, whales, and fish suffer from entanglement or ingestion due to plastic debris.

We enjoy balloons for a matter of minutes but their impact on the environment lasts for years, which is why NY/NJ Baykeeper supports statewide legislation that will ban the intentional release of balloons. Several New Jersey municipalities have already banned the intentional release of balloons including Margate, Longport, Ventnor, Longport, Brigantine, Atlantic City, Long Beach Township, North Wildwood, Somers Point, Upper Township, Cape May City, Somers Point, Sea Isle City, and Bradley Beach. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has also publicly urged residents to avoid releasing balloons.

Consider using bubbles or donating to a cause in memoriam instead of releasing balloons.

Please call your NY or NJ Senate and Assembly members to support legislation that would ban the intentional release of balloons to prevent plastic pollution and protect wildlife that depend on clean water and habitat.

Sandra Meola and Samantha Kreisler

NY/NJ Baykeeper