Ban Intentional Balloon Releases in Virginia

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Balloons that are released into the air, both latex and foil, always return to land or water as harmful and potentially deadly litter. The current law in Virginia states that releasing up to 49 balloons is allowable but more than 50 is illegal. We must change this law in the 2021 General Assembly to ban all intentional balloon releases. Please support Delegate Nancy Guy's HB2159 by calling or emailing your Virginia state representatives. 

The law in Virginia (§ 29.1-556.1. Release of certain balloons prohibited; civil penalty) currently states that " It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly release or cause to be released into the atmosphere within a one-hour period fifty or more balloons which are (i) made of a nonbiodegradable or nonphotodegradable material or any material which requires more than five minutes’ contact with air or water to degrade and (ii) inflated with a substance which is lighter than air." 

Research has shown that balloon-related litter is one of the most common types of litter on Virginia's remote beaches. In many cases, more than 100 pieces of balloon related litter, including foil & latex balloons, plastic ribbons & attachments such as plastic discs and laminated notes, have been found on one mile of beach. 

Balloon litter is considered one of the most harmful types of litter to wildlife. Balloon litter not only harms marine animals, especially sea turtles, and shorebirds, but there are documented interactions with livestock, wild horses and inland species of wildlife as well.

We must change the Virginia law to ban all balloon releases, even so-called "biodegradable" balloons. The Balloon Council announced in August, 2018 that it no longer supports balloon releases. Cities and towns all over the country are banning balloon releases. If you are from Virginia, please sign this petition so that we can help to reduce this dangerous type of litter in our environment. 

Virginia residents: please be sure to share your location information when signing so we can show the Virginia representatives that Virginians want to see this law change. Thank you! 

Related articles:

Deadly Litter: Balloons & Plastic Ribbons on Virginia’s Coastal Beaches (a report by Clean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University)

Loose balloons wreak havoc on environment (Lacy Shirey, Virginian Pilot)

https://www.delmarvanow.com/story/news/local/virginia/2015/07/06/virginia-marine-debris/29775191/

https://www.worldanimalfoundation.org/articles/article/8948431/182504.htm

https://www.thedodo.com/in-the-wild/balloons-hurt-animals-risks

Authorities confirm balloons caused Saddle Butte Fire

What Goes Up... Chesapeake Bay Magazine

Just how dangerous are balloons for the environment and wildlife? The Virginian Pilot

Hempstead (NY) Moving Toward Ban of Balloons Released Intentionally, CBS New York

Queen Anne’s County passes ban on releasing helium balloons, Baltimore Sun



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