The City Council of Atlantic City, New Jersey, voted last night to ban balloons from this Jersey Shore town. Often seen after special events or celebrations, balloons can float around in the sky, carried by local wind currents. Local politicians became concerned with what happens when they stop flying in the air: some could come down and create waste at area beaches, while others could be swallowed by marine life. Similar bans have passed in Ventnor, Margate and Longport in the Garden State.
The Atlantic City Council unanimously adopted the ordinance which imposes a $500 fine to “people or groups releasing balloons filled with gas-lighter-than-air”, such as helium.
Atlantic City Councilman Frank Gilliam sponsored the ban. “Atlantic City is a beautiful place,” Gilliam said. “The ocean is a beautiful element of our existence, so we want to protect it in any way we can.”
According to the US Fish & Wildlife Service, birds, turtles and other animals commonly mistake balloons for food, which can harm or kill them. Many animals can become entagled in baloon strings, which can kill them or damage their feet/hands/wings.
Anti-Balloon groups and websites recommend that people enjoy the sky with other means, such as kites. The BalloonsBlow.org website recommends people replace balloons with flags, banners, streamers, and dancing inflatables. According to their website, “Many businesses are realizing the benefits of using reusable eye-catching signage. Colorful streamers, flags and banners save money and time over balloons, ribbons and helium. They are also weather resistant, save Helium, and can be reused again and again!”