06 • 01 • 2019
Ban Intentional Balloon Releases in Suffolk County
The goal for this campaign is to ban the intentional release of balloons throughout Suffolk County, New York. Current law prohibits the release of more than 25 balloons per person in a 24-hour period, but thanks to the pressure of local jurisdictions passing stricter balloon release laws, Suffolk is re-evaluating that limit.
The former Suffolk County Law § 310-2 states: “No person, nonprofit organization, firm, corporation, or municipality shall knowingly release, organize the release of, condone the release of, or intentionally cause to be released into the atmosphere, within a twenty-four-hour period, 25 or more helium or lighter-than-air gas balloons within the County of Suffolk.”
Not only are balloons are an incredibly common item found at beach cleanups that pose an immediate threat to marine life, but balloons also pose a threat to utility supply. During July 4th weekend, one of the busiest weekends of the year on the East End of Long Island, a mylar balloon hit a transformer and left 2,000+ businesses and homes out of power. This has been seen and experienced time and time again within the past few years across the country including outages in Queens, Maui, Milwakee, Palo Alto, and Los Angeles, and many more locations.
The Eastern Long Island Chapter has been actively communicating with its members about the negative impacts of balloons, and also directly sharing the data from recent beach cleanups with local to provide sincere evidence of the problem of balloon and other single-use plastics on our beaches. Banning intentional balloon releases on a county-wide level in Suffolk County is important to protect marine life and reduce unnecessary and unsightly litter.
Public hearings for this campaign took place during Summer of 2019.
On Sept 4th, the Suffolk County, NY Legislature heard and passed this county-wide bill. On September 27, 2019 County Executive Steve Bellone signed this bill into law at a ceremoney that Chapter Chair Stephen Mahoney and Chapter Coordinator Jill Kampf attended.
East Hampton Trustee Susan McGraw Keber was instrmental in supporting this effort as was East Hampton Star photographer Durel Godfrey.