The Eastern LI Chapter is working to ban the intentional release of balloons in the Town of Easthampton. East Hampton is a sprawling town which includes the hamlets of Montauk, Amagansett, Wainscott and Springs as well as the Village of East Hampton. The total population is over 21,000.
The Chapter has conducted numbers cleanups and collected the data on how many balloons they find. The large stretches of remote beaches seem to collect balloons through the off season and when they finally are cleaned there can be dozens. In fact, in Surfrider cleanups alone there have been 774 balloons or balloon clusters cleaned from East Hampton and neighboring South Hampton beaches in 2017 and 2018.
In East Hampton, the Trustees govern what happens with the beaches and waterfront, but the Town Board actually passes the local laws. Trustee Susan McGraw Keber was very concerned about the balloon issue so she invited chapter employee Colleen Henn to make a presentation to the Trustees. Thoroughly convinced this is a problem, the Trustees have assured the chapter that they will support a ban on intentional balloon releases if it comes before the Town Board. Chapter members worked to get EH Town to draft a local law that bans the intentional release of balloons within the Town.
This was voted in on February 7th, 2019, effective immediately.
RES-2019-266 § 84-2. Restriction on Intentional Release of Balloons:
“No person shall intentionally release or dispose of any balloon, except in public receptacles, in authorized private receptacles, or in designated areas within Town of East Hampton recycling centers
No person, firm, corporation or other entity shall organize the release of, condone the release of, or intentionally cause to be released, any balloon.”