HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania lawmakers are seeking to ban the intentional release of balloons into the atmosphere, a popular method of both celebration and remembrance.
Rep. Matthew Dowling (R-Fayette/Somerset) says the practice causes a serious threat to wildlife, livestock, and pets who may ingest them.
Dowling’s bill, House Bill 2614, would prohibit any state or local organization, entity, or person older than age 13 from intentionally releasing a balloon into the atmosphere with some exceptions for balloons released for scientific or meteorological purposes and hot air balloons,
Balloons, which are commonly made of latex or mylar, can be dangerous to animals who may swallow them or the strings.
Individuals who violate the proposed law could be subject to community service or a fine of up to $100.
“Balloon releases may feel like a moving way to remember a loved one or celebrate a special occasion, but there is nothing special about littering our beaches, forests and countrysides with deflated balloons and ribbons that pose a serious threat to animals of all kinds,” Dowling said.
“There are better ways to celebrate and remember our loved ones that will not bring harm to others
Rep. Marei Mustello (R-Butler), a co-sponsor of the bill, added, “As the former president of the board of directors for the Butler County Humane Society, along with my current position with the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, I support this effort to protect our wildlife, livestock and companion animals.”
Officials say balloon litter can travel for hundreds of miles before they burst or deflate, and cited balloons from the Indianapolis 500 were found in Maryland.