Stop Releasing Balloons! Over 50 Collected From New York Waters
Stop releasing helium-filled balloons into the air! You're killing the wildlife.
More than 50 balloons were collected from the water recently that came from all types of occasions - graduation, Father’s Day, anniversary, and birthdays. Medical face masks and plastic bottles were also among the catch of the day when the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) patrolled the water.
The intentional release of balloons into the environment can be potentially fatal for fish and wildlife. Balloons and plastic bags are commonly mistaken as prey by many marine species. Once ingested, the animal's digestive tract can be blocked, causing it to become sick or starve to death.
DEC Region 1 Enforcement Coordinator Chris Spies often removes balloons and other litter on his own time and he's picked up thousands of balloons and other debris throughout his years on the water. Spies has also saved countless animals, including an endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle entangled in string.
Balloon Ban in New York
Releasing balloons to commemorate an occasion may soon be illegal in New York.
A bill, sponsored by Senator Anthony Palumbo would prohibit the release of balloons in New York state, with exceptions for manned hot air balloons, government-related experiments, and balloons released indoors.
No person shall knowingly release or intentionally cause to be released outdoors a balloon.
Why Ban Balloons?
When balloons are released, the debris takes hundreds of years to degrade, resulting in lasting and harmful pollution to waterways, beaches, and the environment.
Harmful to Animals
Balloons are harmful to marine and wildlife, causing injury and even death if animals become entangled in strings or ingest the debris. Balloons can also pose a significant economic risk to boaters and the fishing industry by causing potentially severe damage to boats.
It is necessary to curb the intentional release of balloons in order to prevent the wasting of natural resources, the littering and pollution of our communities and waterways, and the unnecessary harming of marine and wildlife.
2023 Balloon Ban
The balloon ban would go into effect on January 1, 2023. If signed into law and violators could face a $1000 fine and 15 days in jail.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) officers often find littered balloons all across Central and Upstate New York, stuck in trees, floating in waterways, and laying on the ground.
Summer is the busiest time of the year for balloons with Fathers Day, Graduation parties, and Fourth of July celebrations. You don't have to completely abandon the use of balloons, but be responsible when it comes to disposing of them.
- Tie balloons down tightly to make sure they don't float away.
- Place discarded balloons in the trash, not recycling bins.
- Mylar balloons are the worst, they don't break down.
- Latex balloons are not bio-degradable, it takes them a year to break into pieces.
Balloons Blow.org suggests considering other ways to celebrate. Use bubbles, paper or fabric garlands, pinwheels, or paper bells. Check out their website for more information on ways to celebrate safely.