Balloon release ban to be discussed by Metro Council
BATON ROUGE - Balloon releases could soon be banned in East Baton Rouge Parish. One council member is trying to make it happen, following the lead of states like California, Connecticut, Florida and Tennessee, as well as cities like Lafayette.
The release of balloons is common at vigils and memorials. Others release balloons at birthday parties and celebratory events. Councilwoman Laurie Adams is trying to put a stop to such occasions.
"Certainly a balloon release is beautiful at the moment it happens, but you're not thinking about the fact that that's going to land in somebody's yard. That's going to land in the woods," Adams said.
Balloons can impact the environment. Once they're released or drift off, they travel as far as helium and the wind will take them. The balloons eventually pop or deflate and can get caught in trees or return to Earth as litter. Animals can see those discarded balloons as food or the ribbons can become wrapped around their bodies. Some balloons are even the source of power outages, as the foil ones can cause a surge of electricity.
To help put a stop to these problems, Adams is proposing a new ordinance to be introduced at Wednesday's council meeting that would ban balloon releases in East Baton Rouge Parish.
"We need to discourage people from creating litter," she said.
Prior to writing the ordinance, Adams says she had heard from a veterinarian and a litter group that showed concern about balloons impacting the environment and wildlife. The city of Lafayette has already banned balloon releases and a resolution passed in 2019 to prohibit them at East Baton Rouge Parish Schools.
Adams says there are other ways to memorialize someone including candlelight vigils or planting a tree.
Anyone who releases 10 or more balloons at a time can be in violation. The ordinance says the first offense will be $100 and $250 for the second offense.
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