Editorial: Ban the balloons

Posted 2/8/20

At first glance, Rep. Susan Donovan’s effort to ban the intentional release of balloons seems like a silly pursuit far from the core interests of Rhode Islanders. Peruse the photos of fishermen …

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Editorial: Ban the balloons

Posted

At first glance, Rep. Susan Donovan’s effort to ban the intentional release of balloons seems like a silly pursuit far from the core interests of Rhode Islanders. Peruse the photos of fishermen and women pulling dead balloons from the water, and that perception changes quickly.

Among the many harmful plastics littering our waterways, ingested by species of all manner, are thousands upon thousands of fallen balloons. A few were unintentionally released by a small, probably distraught child, but far more are the result of deliberate ceremonies and events.

The scenes are commonplace:

“Congratulations to the Class of …!” and a sea of balloons lift inspiringly into the sky. “Cheers to the happy couple …!” and gorgeous balloons float away in marital bliss.

Where they float and where they land is part of the pageantry of the event, as they shrink and vanish, never to be seen again.

Except they are seen again, often floating in the water, wrapped around fishing lines, or tangled around live creatures on land or in the sea.

Silly as it sounds, the balloon bill should be taken seriously. These beautiful ceremonies suddenly feel ugly and unnecessary.

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