Thanks to the public’s response and to City Council for voting in favor of recommending to the Virginia Legislature to make releasing helium balloons illegal.
We are so inspired by everyone’s response to this! Thank you all for understanding what an unfortunate menace balloons have been, since we know what a delicate and emotional issue this can be. We endorse “bubbles, not balloons!”
From Legislative Package:
23. BAN THE RELEASE OF MORE THAN TEN (10) BALLOONS
SPONSORED BY COUNCIL MEMBER, BARBARA M. HENLEY
The Virginia Code currently allows the release of up to fifty (50) balloons an hour. However, balloons are a substantial threat to waterfowl and the environment and allowing the release of 49 balloons seems excessive. Balloons are a significant part of the litter collected from most waterways.
The General Assembly is requested to amend the Code of Virginia as follows:
§ 29.1-556.1. Release of certain balloons prohibited; civil penalty
A. It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly release or cause to be released into the atmosphere any balloon which is (i) made of a nonbiodegradable or nonphotodegradable material, including any material which requires more than five minutes’ contact with air or water to degrade and (ii) inflated with a substance which is lighter than air. Any person who violates this section shall be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed five dollars per balloon released, which shall be paid into the Lifetime Hunting and Fishing Endowment Fund established pursuant to § 29.1-101.1.
B. The provisions of this section shall not apply to (i) balloons released by or on behalf of any agency of the Commonwealth, or the United States or pursuant to a contract with the Commonwealth, the United States, or any other state, territory or government for scientific or meteorological purposes or (ii) hot air balloons that are recovered after launch.