Frederick County council to discuss ban on intentional balloon releases

I-270

Council member Kai Hagen says releasing several balloons into the air is akin to littering

FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — Major balloon releases for celebrations such as football games and graduation could be a thing of the past in Frederick County.

“It may not be the biggest problem in the world, but it’s still a real solution to a problem that’s worth doing the right thing about,” said Kai Hagen, Frederick County Council member At-Large.

During a council meeting Tuesday, Hagen brought forward the discussion on a possible ban on the release of balloons in Frederick County.

He argues letting balloons into the air is much like dropping waste onto the street–and both should be illegal.

“And yet for some reason, if we put hundreds or even thousands or tens of thousands of pieces of plastic with strings and ribbons attached to it, and float them into the air first and dispute them over farms, forest, communities, the river, the bay, it’s okay,” Hagen said.

The ban isn’t intended to target those who accidentally have a balloon fly from their hands. Instead, Hagen says, it aims to tackle those who intentionally release several balloons into the air.

Those found in violation of the ban would face a civil infraction and could face a $250 fine.

Members of the council discussed how the ban be enforced by law enforcement. While Hagen said it would be much like laws against littering, others raised questions.

“I don’t know how big of an issue balloon litter is in Frederick County. We already have litter laws, why can we not just make a point of including balloons as litter?” questioned county council president, M.C. Keegan-Ayer.

Hagen mirrored the proposed ban on a similar piece of legislation passed in Queen Anne’s County. He is still working on language in the legislation but hopes to be finished within a week.

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