Laguna Beach Approves Balloon Ban to Protect Wildlife Citywide

Sophie Hirsh - Author

Feb. 22 2023, Published 2:10 p.m. ET

Laguna Beach Balloon Ban
Source: iStock

Balloons may be festive, but they present a number of environmental risks, from polluting water to hurting wildlife — and so the California city of Laguna Beach is banning balloons for good.

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Environmentalists are hoping the new law will benefit local nature, especially since the Orange County, Calif. city is known for its beautiful beaches.

Keep reading for all the details on the Laguna Beach balloon ban.

Laguna Beach Balloon Ban
Source: iStock
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Laguna Beach is banning balloons.

On Tuesday, Feb. 21, the Laguna Beach City Council voted to ban balloons being sold, distributed, or used on public property or at government events citywide, as reported by The Los Angeles Times.

The ordinance also makes it so that balloons cannot be released into the air, and that they may only be disposed of where they will be contained with a lid, and therefore less likely to blow away and become litter. So even if a Laguna Beach resident purchases balloons out of town, and then uses them at a party in a private home, they will still be required to dispose of the balloons safely — and to resist the temptation of a balloon release.

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The ban will affect all types of balloons, whether they are made from synthetic materials or compostable materials, and whether they are inflated or not, AP News reported.

That said, the ban is not going into effect until 2024, so local individuals and businesses who are fans of the balloons will have a grace period to transition away towards other party decor.

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Balloons are bad for the environment in so many ways.

Balloons pose endless risks to nature and wildlife.

They are typically made of plastic, and when they are released in the air, they eventually come back down, often either landing on the ground, beaches, or in the ocean, becoming pollution.

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Animals can mistake these balloons for food, and eat them. There have been many cases of sea animals being found dead, and necropsies later revealing balloons and other ocean plastic in their stomach.

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And even if the balloons are labeled as plastic-free, latex, biodegradable, or eco-friendly, unfortunately, they still pose similar risks as plastic-based balloons, since they can still take a long time to actually decompose, and can still hurt animals.

And not only do the balloons themselves pose risks to wildlife, but so do the strings that are attached to helium balloons, which are typically made from plastic.

"Regardless of which type of balloon, this is a big part of the problem, too," someone stated at a city council hearing about this ordinance. "It's this string. This is what causes a lot of the entanglement, and is another piece of plastic."

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Additionally, balloon releases have become a fixture in gender reveal parties, in which parents-to-be release balloons in either pink or blue, to announce the sex of their baby.

And while a gender reveal balloon release may not cause as much mayhem as other gender reveal parties (such as the one that caused a wildfire in California and the one that killed a bird by dyeing him pink an releasing him in New York City), it is essentially littering — and do you really want your baby's first party to one that glorifies such an environmentally-unfriendly practice?

In the end, there is no true societal need for balloons — so hopefully Laguna Beach will inspire more cities to follow suit and ban them. And in the meantime, check out our guide to gender reveal party alternatives, as well as zero-waste water balloon alternatives.

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