In an effort to protect the environment and local wildlife from dangerous plastic pollution, Asbury Park and Tinton Falls have formally banned balloon releases in their communities.
Asbury Park and Tinton Falls are among 15 Jersey Shore communities to pass resolutions banning balloon releases, which pose a serious threat to the environment. Not only do they cause unsightly pollution and take years to break down in the environment, but they are also a choking hazard for countless coastal animals that mistake the plastic for food.
According to Clean Ocean Action’s 2017 Beach Sweep Report, the total balloons collected were the highest in 7 years and nearly a record at 4,139. The cumulative total of balloons collected during Beach Sweeps is 69,688.
In order to ban the practice state-wide, Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey co-sponsored a bill (A3784) prohibiting intentional balloon releases. A person or entity that violates the provisions of this bill would be subject to a civil penalty of up to $500 for each offense. The release of multiple balloons at one time would be considered a single offense.
“Balloons are detrimental to the environment,” said Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling. “These plastics take years to degrade on our beautiful shoreline and kill countless animals each year. We must take steps to eliminate this pollutant from our environment.”
“We understand that balloon releases are often done at times of celebration or remembrance,” said Assemblywoman Joann Downey. “However, the negative impact these detrimental plastics have on the environment and our wildlife is far too significant to allow this practice to continue. Our pristine coastline is central to our economy, as is our fishing industry. We cannot jeopardize and purposefully pollute our environment in the name of ceremony.”