Intentional balloon releases banned in Maryland since October 1
BALTIMORE, MD — The Maryland Department of the Environment and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources reminded residents of Maryland on Friday that a new state law prohibiting intentional balloon releases will come into effect on October 1.
Maryland’s new law prohibits the release of balloons that, upon landing, create waste and threaten the health and safety of animals on land in the water, effective October 1. awareness raising through participation in a regional campaign funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“In Maryland, it’s now illegal to be a plastic balloon bug and that’s good news for our land, our water and our wildlife,” the Department of the Environment secretary of the environment said. from Maryland, Ben Grumbles. “With the rising tide of plastic pollution, this new law is an important and timely step for the health of our Chesapeake Bay, our coasts and our oceans. “
“Balloons can be a great way to commemorate a special occasion, but when intentionally released into the air they can injure and kill livestock and wildlife. They can also cause blackouts when they get stuck in power lines, ”said Maryland Department of Natural Resources secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio. “The key is to find other ways to celebrate or honor a loved one or if you have balloons make sure you ‘pop them and drop’ them in the trash rather than dropping them in the air. ‘air on purpose. “
Persons 13 years of age or older are prohibited by law from intentionally releasing a ball or from organizing or participating in a mass release of 10 or more balls. This legislation follows similar bills in other states, including neighboring Virginia and Delaware, and some municipalities in Maryland.
Biannual surveys of central Atlantic beaches routinely find balloons and related debris such as ribbons. These items may be mistaken for wildlife or even pets as food, or animals may become entangled.
The law does not apply to a balloon released for meteorological or scientific purposes on behalf of a state or federal agency or in accordance with a contract with an agency, or by a higher education institution conducting research. It also does not apply to: a balloon attached to a radio tracking device and released by a person licensed as an amateur operator issued by the United States Federal Communications Commission; a hot air balloon collected after launch; or the careless or unintentional release of a balloon.
A person who breaks the law can be subject to penalties of up to $ 100 per violation, community service, or watching a video about environmental pollution. The MDE is responsible for law enforcement, but can delegate enforcement to local governments.
MNR is currently involved in a regional campaign, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program, to reduce intentional balloon releases. Part of this campaign offers waste-free alternatives to releasing balloons for various occasions. For celebrations, inflating balloons or using sparklers create a festive atmosphere, while for memorials, setting up a bench or planting trees or wild flowers provide lasting tributes to loved ones. Other alternatives to releasing balloons include releasing bubbles, flying kites, or throwing eco-friendly “confetti” like birdseed, flower petals or dried leaves.
MDE is reaching out to the public and the regulated community, including the balloon distribution industry, event planners and event venues, to inform them of new requirements to ensure compliance and reduce the risk of unintentional violations
Balloon releases prohibited by law can be reported to MDE by phone at 410-537-3315 or by email ([email protected]).
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