Beach Haven Pursues Helium Balloon Ban

Jun 14, 2017

The Beach Haven Borough Council has introduced an ordinance that would ban the release of helium-filled balloons into the atmosphere. 

Various environmental groups have asserted that when balloons are ingested by animals, those animals can’t digest them, and often the balloons will block food from entering the stomach, causing the animals to starve to death.

At Monday’s meeting, Mayor Nancy Taggart Davis said the ordinance was needed because as a shore community, the borough has to be mindful of protecting the environment.

“Since other towns adopted such an ordinance, it was time for us to act,” she said.

The Long Beach Township Board of Commissioners adopted a similar ordinance on June 5. Earlier this year, bans were enacted in the Atlantic County communities of Atlantic City, Ventnor, Longport and Margate.  

“It has been determined that the release of balloons inflated with lighter-than-air gases poses a danger and nuisance to the environment, particularly to wildlife and marine animals so as to constitute a public nuisance and may pose a threat to the safety of its inhabitants and their property,” the ordinance said.

Violators face a fine of up to $200. Exceptions to the ordinance include balloons released by a person with a governmental agency for scientific or meteorological purposes or balloons that are released indoors.

During the public portion, former Mayor Deborah Whitcraft thanked the council for introducing the ordinance. Earlier in the year, she forwarded a copy of the measure adopted in Atlantic County for the council’s perusal.

Resident Michael Peler said the ordinance “lacked teeth.”

“Maybe you should make the fine $500 instead of $200,” he said. “You need to be able to enforce this.” 

A public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for the next meeting on Monday, July 10, 7 p.m.  

 — Eric Englund

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