No More Balloon Releases

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Clean Ocean Access has removed 2,195 balloons from the shoreline of Aquidneck since 2013. Releasing balloons have been associated with celebrations and memorials, but there is real negative impact of intentionally sending plastic into the atmosphere – It kills wildlife, pollutes the earth and wastes helium. There are no economic benefits of releasing balloons, it causes environmental harm to the ocean and must be stopped.

Sea turtles mistake them for jellyfish and ingest them and die. Balloons travel long distances and create unintended environmental consequences. They are made of plastic and take a long time to degrade, likely breaking into small pieces of plastic, absorbing toxins, and ingested by fish and leading to bio accumulation. Besides the balloon, itself, the ribbons are also made of plastic and lead to entanglement of seabirds, and become entangled with seaweed. Large clumps of seaweed on our shoreline are often found with balloon ribbons and fishing line, and collectively these accumulate more debris.

Prohibiting the release of balloons outside on Aquidneck Island will further promote our island-wide environmental stewardship and attract more visitors to enjoy the natural beauty of the place we call home. The ordinance will allow for (1) clear signage to be included in existing signage at shoreline locations to inform residents and visitors, and (2) require that all retail establishments selling helium balloons to post clear signage that releasing balloons outside are illegal. The ordinance should exclude balloons used for scientific purposes, hot-air balloons, and indoor release of balloons.



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