Time for Action

Apr 26, 2017
Courtesy of: Teresa Hagan Balloons released to celebrate an event, such as these trapped in dune fencing, are deadly to marine wildlife.

To the Editor:

It’s celebration season – graduations, weddings, bridal and baby showers – and that means one thing: balloons on the beach!

Last week, on our daily walk from the beginning of North Beach to the tennis courts (about a quarter of a mile), my husband and I collected more than a dozen balloons. Over a two-day period, we found 15 identical balloons, clear latex with pink ribbons. These were obviously part of what’s called a “release,” balloons let loose to mark an occasion. And, as heartwarming as releases may be to the participants, the result is lethal to marine birds and wildlife.

I’m not going to preach on flying litter (this is my fourth letter to The SandPaper in less than a year). I’m not even going to explain how dangerous balloons are to the environment (I’ve been handing out pamphlets on that subject since last summer).

It’s time to move from awareness to action. Four coastal towns in New Jersey – Atlantic City, Longport, Margate and Ventnor – have banned balloon releases.

Now, Long Beach Township is considering a similar ordinance. Alliance for a Living Ocean and the Surfrider Foundation both support a release ban. If you’d like to help save 100,000 marine mammals and more than one million birds each year from a slow, agonizing death, please let your voice be heard, too.

A victory in Long Beach Township could be just the start of an Island-wide movement.

Teresa Hagan

North Beach

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