top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Up, up and not OK: Letting go of balloons could soon be illegal in Florida



A birthday balloon drifts in the waters off Jamaica Bay, New York on Oct. 6, 2021. In an effort to address marine pollution and microplastics, Florida is on the verge of banning deliberate balloon releases. (Tony Cenicola/The New York Times)

By Cara Buckley


Balloons released in the sky don’t go to heaven. They often end up in oceans and waterways, where they’re 32 times more likely to kill seabirds than other types of plastic debris. Despite this, humans like to release them en masse, be it to celebrate a loved one’s life or a wedding, or to reveal the gender of a baby.


The practice is on the verge of becoming illegal in Florida, where the Legislature has joined a growing number of states to ban the intentional release of balloons outdoors. The Florida ban is expected to be signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and would take effect July 1.


Florida is at the forefront of a dizzying and contentious array of statewide bans, outlawing lab grown meat, certain books from school libraries and classrooms, and most abortions after six weeks. But the balloon ban is rare for garnering widespread bipartisan support. It was championed by environmentalists and sponsored by two Republican lawmakers from the Tampa Bay area, state Rep. Linda Chaney and state Sen. Nick DiCeglie.


“Balloons contribute to the increase in microplastic pollution which is harmful to every living thing including humans, polluting our air and drinking water,” Chaney wrote in an email.


“My hope is that this bill changes the culture, making people more aware of litter in general, including balloons,” she said.


Chaney said she first heard about the perils of balloon debris in 2020. Aquatic animals often mistake balloons for jellyfish and feel full after eating them, essentially starving from the inside out. Ribbons affixed to balloons entangle turtles and manatees. Balloons also pose a threat to land animals. In her research, Chaney learned about a pregnant cow that died after ingesting a balloon while grazing. The unborn calf died too.


The bill closes a loophole in an existing Florida law that allowed for the outdoor release of up to nine balloons per person in any 24-hour period, a provision that critics say didn’t achieve the goal of reducing marine trash.


The new legislation makes it clear that balloons can pose an environmental hazard, supporters say. It equates intentionally releasing a balloon filled with a gas lighter than air with littering, a noncriminal offense that carries a fine of $150. The ban also applies to outdoor releases of any balloons described by manufacturers as biodegradable.


The ban does not restrict the sale of balloons by party suppliers or manufacturers; they could still be used indoors or as decorations outdoors if properly secured.


Balloons released by a government agency or for government sanctioned scientific purposes would be exempt from the new law. Hot air balloons recovered after launch or balloons released by children age 6 and younger would also be exempt.


The bill counts among its supporters the Florida Retail Association as well as the Coalition for Responsible Celebration, a trade association for balloon distributors and party stores, which in a statement said it recognized “the importance of promoting responsible balloon usage and ensuring safe access to these joy-inspiring products.”


The legislation marks a win for environmentalists hamstrung by Florida legislation known as the “ban on bans,” which prohibits counties and local municipalities from regulating single use plastics and plastic bags.


Jon Paul “J.P.” Brooker, director of Florida conservation foreating them, essentially starving from the inside out. Ribbons affixed to balloons entangle turtles and manatees. Balloons also pose a threat to land animals. In her research, Chaney learned about a pregnant cow that died after ingesting a balloon while grazing. The unborn calf died too.


The bill closes a loophole in an existing Florida law that allowed for the outdoor release of up to nine balloons per person in any 24-hour period, a provision that critics say didn’t achieve the goal of reducing marine trash.


The new legislation makes it clear that balloons can pose an environmental hazard, supporters say. It equates intentionally releasing a balloon filled with a gas lighter than air with littering, a noncriminal offense that carries a fine of $150. The ban also applies to outdoor releases of any balloons described by manufacturers as biodegradable.


The ban does not restrict the sale of balloons by party suppliers or manufacturers; they could still be used indoors or as decorations outdoors if properly secured.


Balloons released by a government agency or for government sanctioned scientific purposes would be exempt from the new law. Hot air balloons recovered after launch or balloons released by children age 6 and younger would also be exempt.


The bill counts among its supporters the Florida Retail Association as well as the Coalition for Responsible Celebration, a trade association for balloon distributors and party stores, which in a statement said it recognized “the importance of promoting responsible balloon usage and ensuring safe access to these joy-inspiring products.”


The legislation marks a win for environmentalists hamstrung by Florida legislation known as the “ban on bans,” which prohibits counties and local municipalities from regulating single use plastics and plastic bags.


Jon Paul “J.P.” Brooker, director of Florida conservation for the nonprofit group Ocean Conservancy, said increased concern about the health of beaches, a major driver of tourism, helped conservationists and lawmakers find common ground.


“Florida is its beaches,” Brooker said, “People are not going to flock by millions to them if they’re trashed and there’s dead animals and plastic and trash all over.”


Brooker said while it remains to be seen how vigorously police will enforce the ban, the fact that they will be able to issue tickets was a good thing. “More than anything,” he added,” it gives us in the environmental community an opportunity to educate the public as to why it’s bad.”


According to Emma Haydocy, Florida policy manager for the Surfrider Foundation, seven other states have cracked down on outdoor balloon releases. And just last week, lawmakers in North Carolina filed their version of the Florida legislation.


In lieu of releasing balloons, conservationists are urging people to instead plant a tree or toss flower petals into the water.


“There are so many other ways of celebrating that are not detrimental,” Haydocy said.

26 views2 comments

2 Comments


Neha Dutt
Neha Dutt
Jun 01

Find the most beautiful set of energetic and bold girls with a hypnotic beauty. You can view our girls on the present website and find the most adorable girl’s pictures. The Call Girl in Delhi pictures are genuine and so are their profiles. You can rely on pictures and profiles of the website while selecting. Also, delivery of only girls chosen will be done to you. Find genuine call girls for genuine sexual pleasure whenever you feel like it. Call girls in Delhi pictures on the gallery page involve those working for us. It doesn’t involve false pictures.

Like

sapna mathur
sapna mathur
May 28

You can freely hold our hot girl’s hand and feel how wild it is. If you want to spend time with a naughty and sexy girl in real life, call an Naraina Call Girl. There are naughty and educated girls who are always here to please you.

Like
bottom of page