Laguna Beach Enacts Strict Balloon Ban

Laguna Beach Enacts Strict Balloon Ban.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Laguna Beach Enacts Strict Balloon Ban. Image: Unsplash

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Laguna Beach Enacts Strict Balloon Ban

The City of Laguna Beach, California, has enacted a strict balloon ban on the sale and use of balloons within city limits. This ban is a step towards protecting the environment and preserving the health and safety of humans and animals alike and shows a shift in society’s attitudes. 

Balloons have been a staple of parties, events, and celebrations for over one hundred years. They are often associated with happy memories and good times. However, as many environmentalists and activists have warned, balloons are also one of the most harmful and dangerous products for the environment and wildlife. Balloons are made of rubber or plastic, and they pose a serious threat to marine life, birds, and other animals that mistake them for food or get entangled in them. 

In 1888, a company called the Pioneer Rubber Company began manufacturing rubber balloons in the United States. These balloons were made from vulcanized rubber and were much stronger and more durable than previous balloon designs. They quickly became popular as toys and decorations for parties and events.

In the early 1900s, advancements in technology made it possible to produce balloons in a wider range of colours and shapes. The use of helium gas to inflate balloons also became more common, as it allowed balloons to float in the air for longer periods of time.

Balloons, like many other single-use plastics, do not biodegrade and can remain in the environment for hundreds of years. When balloons are released into the air or accidentally fly away, they can end up in oceans, rivers, and other bodies of water and are often mistaken for food by marine life. 

Despite what the companies claim, they are not recyclable or biodegradable; almost every balloon ever made still exists in its original form. Balloon ban laws are the only way to reduce this horrific toll on wildlife.

Balloons are believed to be one of the top three most harmful forms of marine debris for wildlife, along with fishing gear and plastic bags. A study estimated that over 1.5 million marine animals, including mammals and birds, die each year due to ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic debris, including balloons.

Another study conducted by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia found that balloons are one of the highest-risk plastic debris items for seabirds, with one in three birds that ingested a balloon dying as a result. The study estimates that over 100,000 seabirds die each year in Australia alone from ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic debris, including balloons.

It’s worth noting that the impact of balloons on wildlife is not just limited to those that ingest them. Balloons often have strong plastic strings that become entangled in vegetation or other structures and create long-lasting hazards for wildlife, causing injury or suffocation. Balloons that end up in the ocean can also contribute to the growing problem of ocean microplastics, which can be ingested by smaller organisms and eventually make their way up the food chain.

See also: 5 Eco Friendly Alternatives To Balloon Releases.

Balloon bans have been implemented in other cities and states in response to these environmental and health concerns. For example, California has already banned the release of balloons outdoors. Other cities, such as San Francisco and Manhattan Beach, have enacted similar bans on the sale and use of balloons.

Under San Diego’s new balloon ban policy, selling, distributing, or using any type of balloon is illegal within city limits. This includes latex balloons, mylar balloons, and any other type of balloon that can be inflated with air or helium. The ban applies to all businesses, including party stores, gift shops, and other retailers.

Violating the balloon ban can result in fines and penalties for individuals and businesses. The first offence for violating the ban is $100, the second offence is $200, and the third offence is $500. The city may also revoke business licenses for repeated violations.

Exceptions include balloons used for scientific or meteorological purposes, such as weather balloons and balloons used by healthcare providers for medical purposes.

The balloon ban in Laguna Beach is part of a broader effort to protect the environment and reduce the use of single-use plastics. By banning balloons, the city hopes to reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in the ocean and other bodies of water. The ban is also intended to raise awareness about the impact of plastic pollution on the environment and to encourage individuals and businesses to adopt more sustainable practices.

In addition to the environmental concerns, the ban on balloons is also aimed at protecting human health and safety. Balloons can pose a risk to power lines, which can cause power outages and other safety hazards such as wildfires. By eliminating balloons from the city’s landscape, Laguna Beach hopes to create a safer and healthier environment for all its residents, human and animal, terrestrial and aquatic. 

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