ROCKVILLE, Md. (WDVM) — Some Montgomery County lawmakers and environmental activists are in support of a bill that would ban intentional balloon releases.
Introduced Tuesday, Bill 6-20 would penalize those who intentionally release balloons into the air in the county. Environmentalists say the balloons look like food to birds, turtles and marine life.
Animals can also get tangled up in ribbons and pieces of plastic. Though balloons may look pretty as they fly through the air, deflated balloons ultimately end up as trash in our ecosystems and waterways.
“The main problem is they really endanger our precious wildlife. They can drift hundreds of miles. In Maryland, we’ve found some balloons that were released at the Indianapolis 500. Most of these end up drifting toward the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean,” said Council Vice President Tom Hucker.
“In Maryland, a healthy Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean support 96,000 jobs and $6 billion dollars in GDP. Plastic pollution is a growing threat to marine ecosystems and communities dependent on healthy shorelines,” said Jacob Ross, a fields campaign fellow with Oceana, a conservation organization.
If the bill passes, those who intentionally release balloons could face a $500 civil fine for their first offense and a $750 civil fine for every offense after that.