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For Immediate Release:DATE: June 24, 2021CONTACT: John BouvierPHONE: (631) 287-5745
Councilman John Bouvier sponsored, and the Town Board approved at Tuesday’s Town Board Meeting, a resolution amending the balloon legislation to prohibit the sale and/or distribution of any type of balloon filled with lighter than air gas, such as helium. The original legislation banned the intentional release of balloons. The ban will minimize the use of helium, a finite resource used in medical testing, such as MRI scanners.
The Town’s Sustainability Committee advocated for this law, citing the negative impacts of balloons on our environment and wildlife.
“We have a unique issue here, we’re a coastal community. This type of product is ending up in the water, killing our fish and entering our waste stream,” said Councilman Bouvier, liaison to the Sustainability Committee. “We have all seen the devastating images of marine animals who have washed up on our beaches after ingesting balloons or getting tangled in the strings attached to the balloons.”
Dieter von Lehsten, Co-Chair of the Sustainability Committee stated, “The pollution created by these balloons on our beaches and parks, in addition to the havoc they create for our wildlife ashore, and especially in the ocean, needed a strong message, which you delivered. As was pointed out so clearly - for the common good! And the overwhelming support from the Southampton citizens was encouraging.”
A Town survey conducted last year showed that 86% of respondents agreed that releasing balloons into the environment poses a danger to the environment and to wildlife, and 66% were in favor of prohibiting the sale, distribution and release of any type of balloon filled with lighter than air gas, such as helium.
The legislation does not apply to balloons that are used for scientific or meteorological purposes, or hot air balloons that are recovered after launching.
The new law goes into effect June 1, 2022.
For more information, please contact John Bouvier at 631-287-5745.