Solana Beach bans balloons filled with helium or other lifting gases, following the city council’s approval of a new ordinance on April 27.
“Balloons have been a symbol of celebration for so long, but the harm they do is absolutely not to be celebrated,” said Solana Beach Mayor Lesa Heebner.
The ordinance, which is now awaiting a second reading by the council at a meeting next month, is designed to reduce plastic pollution that can build up in the ocean and harm animals, both in the sea and on land. It would specifically prevent the sale, use and distribution of “any type of balloon inflated with lighter than air gas in the city”. It also makes it illegal to launch these types of balloons into the air, where they will eventually fall into the ocean or onto land.
The prescription is also designed to preserve helium for medical and other scientific purposes.
“We don’t want to waste helium because it’s a medically important resource,” Solana Beach resident Kristin Brinner said in a public comment. “There is no reason for us to dump plastic and stuff into our environment, so I hope this is another step to eliminate single-use plastics that are polluting our environment.
Residents and local groups such as the Surfrider Foundation have called for the balloons to be banned, according to a report from the city manager.
Other cities across the United States have passed similar laws. Earlier this year, the Encinitas City Council approved an ordinance banning balloons filled with helium or other lifting gases.
“As someone who cleans the beach frequently – not in an organized way, I just do it – there is far too much plastic waste, but also balloon waste,” said Jewel Edson, councilor for Solana Beach. . “And it’s shocking, not just the balloons but the strings that I find things tied up in.”