Queen Anne's County Bans Release of Harmful Helium Balloons

(Photo courtesy: Shaun Fisher via Flickr)

DOVER, Del.- Delaware Gov. John Carney on Friday signed legislation that bans intentional balloon releases statewide, making Delaware the sixth state to do so this year. 

Under the law, releasing four balloons or fewer balloons filled with air or lighter-than air gases is considered littering and a first offense is punishable by a fine of at least $25. A mass release of five or more balloons carries a civil penalty of $250 and up to eight hours of community service on first offense.

Nonprofit ocean conservation organization Oceana issued a statement about the ban.

“By banning balloon releases, Delaware lawmakers are taking an important step in protecting one of our greatest resources: the ocean. Their action ensures intentional balloon releases will now be prevented in the entire Delmarva region, as the state joins Maryland and Virginia in enacting statewide bans this year,” said Oceana's field campaigns manager, Caroline Wood. “Balloons have long polluted shorelines of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, adding to the plastic pollution that threatens both marine life and the roughly 225,000 jobs in the three states that depend on a clean coast. Oceana applauds Gov. Carney and Delaware state legislators for prohibiting intentional balloon releases, and we also urge these leaders to keep working to curb the growing plastics crisis. We need more policies regulating single-use plastic so we can help reverse course and break the plastic habit."

Maryland and Virginia also passed legislation to ban intentional balloon releases this year; now that Delaware has enacted its bill, it is illegal to intentionally release balloons throughout the region.



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