Pending bill would create a $500 fine for releasing a balloon in N.J.

The pending bill cites balloons as a danger to wildlife and marine animals who mistake them as food or become entangled in the string. (Wikimedia commons)

The pending bill cites balloons as a danger to wildlife and marine animals who mistake them as food or become entangled in the string. (Wikimedia commons)

Planning on releasing a balloon New Jersey?

If one bill becomes law, that could cost you $500.

A measure introduced earlier this month in the state Senate by Declan J. O’Scanlon Jr., R-Monmouth, prohibits the intentional release of balloons inflated with lighter-than-air gases.

It cites balloons as a danger to wildlife and marine animals who mistake them as food or become entangled in the string.

Atlantic City and nearby municipalities have already banned the release of balloons inflated with lighter-than-air gases. The legislation states that a statewide approach “is the most effective means of achieving a significant reduction in balloon debris and the environmental harm this debris causes.”

The bill exempts those used for scientific purposes, released and remaining indoors, and for a minor who releases five or fewer at one time.

Environmentalists said the ban will help reduce trash and better protect marine life in New Jersey, where the advocacy group Clean Ocean Action reported a sharp increase in balloons collected during beach sweeps in 2018.

Balloons Blow, an organization that advocates for prohibiting balloon releases, says several jurisdictions in the country have similar laws banning the activity.

The organization provides a variety of alternatives here.

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