GAITHERSBURG, Maryland—The Montgomery County Council passed a law to prohibit the purposeful release of balloons into the atmosphere. Councilmember Tom Hucker, D-Montgomery County, introduced Bill 6-20 earlier this year as a means to protect the county’s wildlife and environment by ending balloon release events that create litter.
Balloons released into the air can travel for hundreds of miles before they end up in our waterways or on the ground, where birds and sea turtles, seals and other marine mammals are injured or killed after eating or becoming entangled in balloons and their strings.
“Balloon litter is detrimental to our environment and causes immense pain and suffering to wildlife who mistake deflated or burst balloon pieces for food. We are grateful to Councilmember Hucker and applaud Montgomery County for signaling its opposition to this harmful practice by prohibiting intentional balloon releases,” said Kathryn Kullberg, director of Marine and Wildlife Protection at the Humane Society of the United States.
Montgomery County joins Frederick, Queen Anne’s and Wicomico counties, as well as the Town of Ocean City, in passing these measures in Maryland. Advocates hope that the growing groundswell of support for these bans will encourage the Maryland legislature to pass a statewide ban in 2021.
The HSUS encourages individuals and organizations to consider alternatives to balloon releases, such as planting a native tree or plant, to commemorate an event.