Long Beach Township Bans Release of Balloons

Jun 07, 2017
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

Long Beach Township has adopted an ordinance to prohibit the intentional release of helium balloons in the municipality, as they often end up in the water – where they can entangle, or be ingested by, sea life – or they end up on land, as litter.

The Board of Commissioners introduced the ordinance, 17-19C, earlier this month, and it passed on second reading at the public meeting this Monday, June 5.

The municipality offered meeting attendees a pamphlet promoting a “Balloon-Free LBI,” which notes, “Balloons are a big part of the plastic problem that’s destroying our oceans and killing more than 100,000 marine mammals and one million birds each year.”

Latex balloons, the pamphlet adds, take years to biodegrade, while foil balloons are even more attractive to wildlife, and can also cause electric outages and fires when entangled in power lines.

“We’re trying to rid LBI of this floating litter,” states the literature, which credits the Garden Club of LBI, the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, Readings from the Northside and BalloonsBlow.org for the information and photos. “Please help us by opting for more friendly alternatives (for decoration and advertisement): banners and flags, pinwheels, bubble machines, garden spinners, wildflower seed balls or tissue pom-poms.”

Alliance for a Living Ocean Executive Director Kyle Gronostajski attended the meeting to thank Mayor Joseph Mancini and Commissioners Ralph Bayard and Joseph Lattanzi for adopting the balloon ban. The nonprofit is also trying to get momentum for Bill S-3177, introduced by Sen. Jim Whelan of the 2nd District, which would enact the ban at the state level.

The measure reads: “The Legislature finds and declares 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; that many animals are attracted to the bright colors of balloons and mistake them for food which can cause an animal severe injury or death; that many more animals become entangled in balloon strings and are injured or strangled to death as a result; that several municipalities in the State, including Margate City, Longport Borough, Ventnor City, and Atlantic City, have prohibited the release of balloons inflated with lighter-than air gasses; and that a Statewide approach, however, is the most effective means of achieving a significant reduction in balloon debris and the environmental harm this debris causes.”

ALO encourages, “Please reach out to your local politicians and those at the state level to let them know you support bill S-3177 to make this statewide in the future. We’ll be working to get the rest of the island on board in the meantime.”

Currently, the Beach Haven Borough Council is considering introducing an ordinance similar to that of Long Beach Township. Borough Clerk/Acting Manager Sherry Mason said the ordinance could be introduced at the June 12 meeting.

As Mayor Nancy Taggart Davis said last month, “This is something we’ve talked about before. But as a shore community, we have to be mindful of protecting the environment. Now that other towns have adopted such an ordinance, it’s probably time for us to act.”

In other township news, the board adopted a resolution Monday opposing plans to expand and renovate the Ethel A. Jacobsen Elementary School in Surf City, and the associated $18,353,411 bond proposals taxpayers will be asked to vote on at a Sept. 26 referendum.

Mancini explained that the new terminal jetty in Holgate – to replace the wooden groin – will probably go out to bid in late fall or early winter.

Lattanzi, meanwhile, gave a brief presentation about the municipality’s taxes, and noted a June 8 meeting of the LBI Joint Council of Taxpayers to discuss the state formula and breakdown of taxes in regard to Southern Regional High School. The meeting is at 7 p.m. at the Harvey Cedars Bible Conference.

Lattanzi also pointed out that more than 4,500 individuals rode the shuttle buses over Memorial Day weekend. “Our biggest problem is when the buses drive by people because they’re full,” as those waiting often assume the bus drivers didn’t see them. The township is considering bigger buses, or perhaps lights on the buses to indicate when they’re full.

Bayard noted that the township has a new Recycle Coach app for quick access to recycling information. Also, the municipality recently received a $41,779 grant from N.J. Clean Communities, he said.

The commissioners’ next meeting is at 4 p.m. on July 3. Visit longbeachtownship.com for additional township information.

Juliet Kaszas-Hoch

juliet@thesandpaper.net

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