City to ban helium balloon releases

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Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
August 8, 2019 – 9:00 a.m.


On First Reading at their August 6, 2019 Regular Meeting, the Fernandina Beach City Commission unanimously approved Ordinance 2019-19, which bans the intentional release of balloons inflated with a gas that is lighter than air, which includes but is not limited to helium.  The only exceptions are for indoor balloon releases or balloons released on behalf of a governmental agency or governmental contract for scientific or meteorological purposes.

Any person who violates or fails to comply with this ordinance will be subject to a $100 fine.

Commissioners suggested this ordinance as a means of protecting wildlife and the environment and halting pollution of the ocean.

Already this year Cumberland Island has reported finding more than 20 mylar balloons that drifted up from Amelia Island.

Commissioner Phil Chapman suggested that the city launch an educational campaign to increase awareness of the problems caused by balloon releases.  He called for bringing such a program into the schools.  He also asked that local vendors of inflated balloons of this type be contacted in person to make sure that they are aware of the new rules and consequences in order to advise their customers.

A second reading has not yet been scheduled for this ordinance.

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3 Responses to City to ban helium balloon releases

  1. Ben Lloyd says:

    What goes up must come down, except my age and weight. Good job commissioners!

  2. Jason Collins says:

    I can understand restricting the release of large batches of helium balloons in a beach side community but fining people because a couple of their birthday helium balloons got away at a picnic? And Phil Chapman’s suggestion of “educating” our children in school to the “horrors” of what happens to the environment when they accidentally let a helium balloon go up in the air should trouble any parent. Shame on you Phil Chapman with your “big government, we know better than parents, push our agenda on the children” attitude. This is why we have so many young people thinking the world is going to end soon if we don’t give a much larger portion of our earned income to the Federal Govt in the sake of “climate change” when India and China cause a majority of the pollution. Stay out of our pocket books, birthday parties, and schools with your liberal agenda!!

  3. We’ve all seen images of different marine animals that have died of starvation due to ingesting balloons and other sorts of plastics. We should encourage children AND adults to think of some other activity if they want to honor a loved one with a balloon release. This has been a concern of mine for a long time. It’s not a BIG government thing, this is common sense to protect our environment. Good job Commissioners!!

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