The goal of this campaign is to ban the intentional release of balloons in East End Townships. Currently, it is legal to release up to 25 balloons per person in a 24 hour period in Suffolk County.

Launch Date: January 2018

Status: Ongoing

Campaign Lead: Kurt Fuchs, vicechair@easternli.surfrider.org

Balloons are a common item found at beach cleanups, and pose an immediate threat to marine life. Suffolk County Law § 310-2 states: “No person, nonprofit organization, firm, corporation, or municipality shall knowingly release, organize the release of, condone the release of, or intentionally cause to be released into the atmosphere, within a twenty-four-hour period, 25 or more helium or lighter-than-air gas balloons within the County of Suffolk.”

We ask that one-by-one, our East End Townships pass legislation prohibiting the intentional release of balloons. Many municipalities around the country are already taking action to recognize the impacts of balloons.

Since the Chapter began collecting data at beach cleanups in June 2017, 6,082 pounds of debris have been removed from beaches between Westhampton Beach and Montauk. Of 38 beach cleanups held between June 2017 and December 2018, 774 balloons have been found on our beaches, which averages to about 20 balloons found at each beach.

When balloons enter the marine environment, they take hundreds of years to degrade, threatening marine life through entanglement or ingestion. Mylar balloons in particular also threaten utility supply. During the weekend of July 4th, 2017, a mylar balloon came in contact with a transformer in Southampton Village, leaving over 1,000 homes and businesses without power on one of the busiest, revenue-producing weekends of the year.

The chapter is currently compiling letters from environmental groups, businesses and individuals who feel passionately that Townships and Villages within Suffolk County should ban the intentional release of balloons. If you’d like to compose a letter, please send to chenn@surfrider.org.

Need inspiration for your letter? Here is Surfrider Foundation, Eastern Long Island’s Formal Letter supporting the ban of the intentional release of balloons in East End Towns and Villages within Suffolk County.

Surfrider Foundation ELI especially thanks the East Hampton Town Trustees who are supportive of this campaign within East Hampton Town and who have helped gain coalition support of 10+ organizations, businesses, and government entities.

This Campaign in the news:

Please check out this interactive map created by the wonderful organization, “Balloons Blow” that includes locations of balloons found, and even information on where balloons caused the death of an animal. Check out the map here: