Releasing Balloons Isn’t Littering

Balloon releases are not considered littering until the balloon hits the ground

kalmar nyckel, delaware, mylar balloons, sussex county, ocean consrvation, releasing balloons should be illegal
Captain Sharon Dounce on the Kalmar Nyckel retrieving a mylar balloon while the ship is underway.

I have heard the above statement more than once. It is shocking to hear that, especially when someone is purposely releasing a balloon. I know many like to release balloons for memorials, especially on Mother’s Day. Only one problem, what goes up will come down. Technically releasing a balloon on purpose is littering, to think anything different is obtuse. Now you can help get this issue under control. Maryland is already working on this issue by banning mass balloon releases.

Mother’s day balloon found on Mother’s day. Nothing says let’s celebrate mother earth by smothering her life better than a mylar balloon.

The group Plastic Free Delaware for over two years has tried to get legislation passed to stop balloon releases. They are now closer than ever with a bill being introduced this year, Senate Bill 208, to stop balloon releases in Delaware. Senate Bill 208 was introduced today, sponsored by Senator Stephanie Hansen and Representative Deb Heffernan. Co-sponsors include Sen. Sokola and Cloutier, and Representatives Baumbach, Brady and Jacques. It was assigned to the Senate Health and Social Services Committee, but is not yet scheduled.”
You can help make this happen by writing your legislators and asking them to cosponsor Senate bill 208.

Look up your Delaware House legislator here.
Delaware Senators are listed here.
It would also be helpful to send an email to The Secretary of DNREC Shawn Garvin.

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If you want to know how bad this situation is just ask any angler, especially the offshore and surf anglers. “we find a lot of balloons offshore when we are fishing miles from shore”.
Mylar Balloons are not just a nuisance on the water. A few years ago we saw a balloon released in Milton get tangled on a power line at the top of the pole where the lines connect. It was arcing sparks until the balloon popped, and then blew out the power for that area. These balloons have caused fires this way. The coating on Mylar balloons conducts electricity.

On Mother’s Day two years ago we held a beach clean up. Yeah I know what you are thinking, who holds a beach clean up on Mother’s Day, we do. Anyway, it was raining and the wind was blowing sideways from the east. We canceled the clean up, but decided to take a look at the beach anyway. Long story short we found a lot of Mylar balloons and they were all coming out of the ocean, it was a blitz. Most of them had Happy Mother’s Day on them, most of these balloons were hours to days old. If you want to do a memorial for Mom, plant a tree.

Please write your Delaware Senate and House representatives and DNREC, ask them to push to pass Senate Bill 208. Then write the governor and ask him to make it a law. Be nice in your letters a quick note is all it takes to make you r voice heard, you can even call.
Last beach clean up we found at least fifteen mylar balloons, we find that many and more every week on just a few miles of beach.

Fish On
Rich King

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