Balloons won’t fly anymore in New Shoreham, Rhode Island.
The town council there voted unanimously this week to say goodbye to balloons for good. The new law prohibits the sale and use of balloons throughout the town, which comprises the area of Block Island off Rhode Island’s coast.
“We are very concerned about the environment,” said Kenneth Lacoste, first warden of the town council. “There’s a lot of information out there of damages that balloons do to the wildlife.”
Wildlife isn’t the only concern. Environmental organizations often point out that balloons can land in the ocean, eventually washing up on the shore and polluting the environment.
Balloons Blow, a nonprofit organization dedicated to warning the public of the dangers of balloons, offers environmentally friendly alternatives to balloons on their website.
“When your community is surrounded by water and you see the wrath of balloon trash daily, it’s no wonder they are banning balloons altogether,” Danielle Vosburgh, founder of the organization, wrote in an email to CNN.
Lacoste said balloons have been spotted in the water around New Shoreham far too often. The town made a decision to ban one-time-use plastic grocery bags a couple of months ago for the same reasons. Lacoste said the balloon bill is essentially a follow-up to the previous legislation.
Although there are no specific party stores on the island that depend heavily on the sales of balloons, Lacoste said there are a few places that use them for parties or events.
The new rule is set to begin Monday, and anyone who breaks it will face a $200 maximum fine.
New Shoreham now joins a few other towns, such as Provincetown and Nantucket in Massachusetts, that have banned balloons. Other states have legislation to regulate balloon releases.