A number of US states are currently airing bills to ban intentional balloon releases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Lawmakers in Arizona, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Maine and Rhode Island have been looking to ensure balloon releases fall under the relevent legislation across a number of state governments.
Texas is also considering a study on windblown and waterborne litter that would include helium balloons, while a similar proposal was terminated at the committee stages in the Kentucky legislature last month.
There’s a growing awareness of the problem across the US, which has energised legislation looking to outlaw the organised release of helium-filled balloons.
“People don’t really realize that it’s littering. That’s why we want to bring attention to this,” said state representative Lydia Blume, who’s supporting the balloon bill in Maine. “It’s a common sense thing.”
Currently, California, Connecticut, Florida, Tennessee and Virginia already have laws that ban or restrict planned balloon releases.
Based in New Jersey, The Balloon Council (which represents manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers) prefers education over legislation, but is not opposing any of the legislative efforts.
“The Balloon Council feels that all balloons should be deflated and properly disposed of,” said The Balloon Council spokeswoman Lorna O’Hara. “There is a heightened attention across the globe. We’re rising to what’s happening in the United States and globally.”