- Planning & Zoning
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- Balloon Releases = Littering
Balloon Releases = Littering
Balloons intentionally released into the air are not only unsightly litter, but are also harmful to the environment, wildlife, aquatic life, and livestock.
Balloons blow... Don't let them go! You may have never thought about or considered the fact that releasing balloons into the air as a celebration of life or for a special event is really a bad thing to do. In reality, though, IT REALLY IS.
On this page, you will see a photo of a balloon that recently presumably travelled from Pueblo, Colorado all the way to the Roanoke, Virginia area in a matter of 2 days--from 2/8/21 to 2/10/21. This balloon travelled over 1500 miles in that time. It was discovered by the property owner barely hoovering just a couple of feet above the ground in a pasture with horses!
Balloons are harmful, not only because they create unsightly litter which is not biodegradable and contains harmful chemicals, but also because they can be a life-threatening issue for livestock, birds, turtles, and many other creatures, especially those in our oceans. Many creatures look at balloons and think they are a food source, and when ingested nearly always death occurs. Birds can become entangled in the string that is tied on balloons and may be unable to eat, fly, or stand. Mylar balloons are also known to cause power outages or even fires when they become entangled in electrical wires or other equipment.
Balloons also consume a massive amount of Helium worldwide. Once Helium is released into the atmosphere, it is gone forever. Currently, there is no way to manufacture Helium, and the Earth's natural reserves are running low. Why is Helium important? Helium is used in cooling the superconducting magnets in MRI scanners at hospitals. There’s no substitute because Helium has the lowest boiling point. It’s also required for fiber optics, sea/space exploration, welding, supersonic wind tunnels, cooling nuclear reactors, life-saving medical procedures and diagnostics, cryogenics, laboratory research, lasers, LCD’s (ie, flat screen TVs), rare document preservation and breathing ventilators for infants and the ill.
Currently in Virginia, a bill banning intentional balloon releases is gaining steam in Virginia General Assembly: https://www.wtkr.com/news/house-bill-banning-intentional-balloon-releases-gaining-steam-in-virginia-general-assembly?fbclid=IwAR1x9kVQoy6Q5PHywODN3prDUubf3oleFvo-jAac6atnzoWFttX4jAAjhGY
Be a part of the solution--Balloons Blow, Don't Let Them Go:
Earth and animal friendly alternatives to balloon releases include, but are not limited to:
- Planting trees or flowers
- Flying kites
- Planting pinwheels or garden spinners
- Blowing bubbles
- Sponsoring a bench in a park or along the greenway