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Balloons are pretty, festive, and fun, but released outdoors they can be lethal to birds, turtles, whales, and many others. Balloons released either on purpose or unintentionally are carried by winds to the ocean. Ultimately, balloons fall from the sky and litter beaches, waterways, estuaries, and the vast ocean. More than unsightly, these balloons harm wildlife by entanglement (especially balloons with ribbons and strings) or ingestion when animals mistake them for food.
Marine balloon litter is well-documented and is a growing problem in waterways worldwide. In fact, 70,055 balloons were collected by volunteers cleaning NJ’s beaches and shorelines on just 40 days during the 20-year period (1999-2019) of Clean Ocean Action’s biannual Beach Sweeps. Further, a recent study* in the leading ocean policy journal Marine Policy ranks balloons as #3 of the 20 deadliest trash items in the ocean (i.e., plastics bags, bottles).
A bill, A4322, introduced by NJ Assembly Members Houghtaling (NJ-11) and Downey (NJ-11), prohibits the intentional outdoor release of balloons throughout the state, and requires better control of outdoor balloons.
In signing this petition, I state that:
- I am not anti-balloon, just anti-balloon litter, and I want to protect wildlife from this needless painful, harmful, and lethal threat;
- I personally pledge not to release, or cause to be released, any balloons outdoors; and,
- I support A4322 as an important step toward reducing the harmful impacts of balloons on marine life.
* “Using expert elicitation to estimate the impacts of plastic pollution on marine wildlife,” Marine Policy, Volume 65, March 2016, Pages 107-114, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2015.10.014