Protect Wildlife Now: Support Florida’s Balloon Ban

Colorful hot air balloons on tropical beach with free space. Travel and summer concept.

Have you ever stopped to think about the environmental impact of balloon releases? Despite being a popular way to celebrate, balloon releases can have devastating effects on our environment, wildlife, and marine life.

The proposed amendment to bill s. 379.233, F.S. is a necessary step towards protecting Florida’s environment, wildlife, and marine life. Balloon releases can cause environmental damage, creating waste that can harm wildlife and pollute our natural areas. Fortunately, the proposed amendment aims to remove the exemption that allowed the release of biodegradable or photodegradable balloons and to make it unlawful to intentionally release balloons, instead of the previous limit of releasing 10 balloons within a 24-hour period. The bill strikes a balance between allowing for celebrations and protecting the environment. The proposed bill recognizes the importance of regulating balloon releases rather than banning them outright, and is supported by environmental organizations such as the Sea Turtle Conservancy and the Surfrider Foundation.

According to a study featured in a 2019 Science Daily article, balloons are the highest-risk plastic debris item for seabirds, causing deaths at a rate 32 times higher than that of ingesting hard plastics. By regulating balloon releases, the proposed bill can help to reduce the amount of waste and pollution caused by this activity. The bill still allows for certain exemptions, such as balloons released by governmental agencies for scientific or meteorological purposes, hot air balloons that are recovered after launching, and balloons released indoors.

Floridians have a responsibility to take action against harmful activities like outdoor balloon releases. We can support the proposed bill by contacting our elected officials, educating our communities about the impact of balloon releases, and choosing alternative methods of celebration that are less harmful to the environment. The proposed bill is a step in the right direction to protect our natural resources and preserve the beauty and diversity of our state for future generations. Let’s get behind this proposed bill and take action to protect our environment.

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