Solana Beach council approves second reading of helium balloon ban

The Solana Beach City Council approved a second reading of an ordinance banning helium-filled balloons or other lifting gases at a May 11 meeting. The order takes effect in 30 days.

The sale, use and distribution of balloons containing helium or other “lighter than air” gases are prohibited.

Residents and local groups, such as the Surfrider Foundation, have advocated for the ban as a way to reduce pollution accumulating in the ocean and on beaches. The text of the ordinance also mentions the harmful effects of balloons when they fall from the sky and come into contact with animals and power lines.

“Ocean Conservancy ranks balloons as the second most dangerous piece of debris because they are often mistaken for food by birds, mammals and marine life,” the order reads. “When the balloons are ingested, they block the digestive tract of animals, leading to loss of nutrition, internal injury, starvation and death.”

Other cities across the United States have enacted similar local bans, including Encinitas.

“Balloons have been a symbol of celebration for so long, but the harm they do is absolutely nothing to celebrate,” Solana Beach Mayor Lesa Heebner said in April when the council approved a first reading of an order.