Balloon releases now banned in North Florida

The problem is that the balloons and their strings turn into waste and often fall into waterways.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It is now illegal to release balloons in Jacksonville after the City Council approved a citywide ban on releasing balloons and sky lanterns.

Fifteen council members voted yes to the new ordinance and one voted against.

The problem is that balloons and their strings turn into trash and often fall into waterways, which can be harmful or even fatal to marine life.

“The ball and the string, both of these are extremely dangerous to wildlife,” said St. Johns Soil and Water Conservation District member Nicole Crosby.

Crosby has been advocating for a balloon release ban in Jacksonville for years. She was behind the push for a similar ban in St Johns County, passed in January.

“I contacted Councilman Diamond about a balloon release ban in Jacksonville because it would kind of bridge the gap of a line of municipalities and counties with balloon release bans,” said Crosby.

There are currently similar bans in other First Coast cities and counties like Atlantic, Neptune and Fernandina Beach. Also, St. Augustine, St. Augustine Beach, the town of Marineland, St. Johns County and Flagler Beach.

City Council member Rory Diamond says any loose ball in Jacksonville will carry the same penalty as littering, $50 for the first offense.

“The app is tough, it’s mostly about education, letting people know that while it’s fun to leave a bunch of balloons in the air, they will eventually fall, and they could hurt our wildlife. and getting it all dirty is trash, and we don’t like that,” said Rory Diamond, Jacksonville City Council member for District 13.

Balloons are typically launched at celebrations or commemorations, but Diamond and Crosby say there are other ways to honor loved ones.

For example, if everyone attending a memorial wrote a few words about the death of a loved one on a ribbon, and then all those ribbons were put on a kite, you could fly the kite at the beach. said Crosby. are other ways to honor and remember people that might even be more meaningful than releasing a floating piece of plastic into the environment.

The ban will take effect immediately.

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