Ban on Intentional Balloon Releases due to Negative Impact on Environment and Community

Ban on Intentional Balloon Releases due to Negative Impact on Environment and Community

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Robin Garcia started this petition to Representative Alan S. Lowenthal and

Balloons are often associated with celebrations and memorials, marketing and sporting events, but few realize their detrimental impact on community and wildlife when released en masse in our local environment. With this petition, we are not vowing to ban balloons, but rather drawing attention to the harmful effects of balloon releases, shedding light on how harmful they are and requesting local representatives to extend municipal litter laws to include pollution that has the ability to float away. After all, what goes up, must come down.

Why are balloons so bad? Balloons kill animals and leach chemicals. The balloons typically used in releases are composed of either mylar or synthetic latex rubber and filled with helium. Because of their mere ability to take flight, balloons don’t discriminate where they land and many end up in forests, oceans and remote areas where posing a threat to the animals that live there. Both marine and terrestrial wildlife often mistake balloons as food, causing intestinal obstruction, where the animal faces death from starvation. Animals also often become entangled in the ribbons often affixed to celebration balloons. Despite many balloon manufacturers claiming that balloons are “biodegradable” this is a dangerous advertising gimmick. Latex is added with a mix of compounds containing plastic for durability and can take years to break down, leaching chemicals into the environment. The intentional release of mylar balloons is specifically outlawed in the state of California for their conductive properties and have cost the state millions for their ability to spark fires and cause power outages when they land on power lines. Mylar balloons can take several years before breaking down into microplastics. The depletion of helium is also a concern. Helium is a finite, non-renewable, non-recoverable natural resource used in many important medical applications such as MRI and ventilators and are important to deep sea space exploration. In short, balloons blow!


As a port city, Long Beach carries the responsibility of educating its citizens and prohibiting mass balloon releases for the benefit of all living here. Long Beach has already placed itself as a leader of sustainability, banning styrofoam in restaurants, creating programs to bring nutritious food to food deserts and establishing an office of sustainability. Releasing balloons creates zero economic benefit and the effects are long lasting, compromising future generations of people and wildlife. Prohibiting the release of balloons outside in Long Beach city limits will further promote our city-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.


Resources:


www.balloonsblow.org

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2018/08/news-helium-mri-superconducting-markets-reserve-technology/

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