By Bob Katzen

The Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee held a virtual hearing on a measure that would ban the sale and release of any balloon filled with helium or any type of lighter than air gas and impose up to a $100 fine on violators.

“Since the idea for this bill was first presented to me two sessions ago by the Provincetown Elementary School third grade class, many states have already stepped up to reduce balloon litter which harms birds, turtles and other wildlife,” said sponsor Rep. Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown). ” Many cities and local jurisdictions including Provincetown, Nantucket, Chatham and Everett also have their own balloon-banning local bylaws. We need to catch up. While the statutes vary jurisdiction by jurisdiction, what is consistent across the country is the recognition that balloons present a threat of entanglement and ingestion to birds, marine life and mammals. Balloon litter often ends up between the high tide line and dune vegetation which impacts nesting and migratory shorebirds as well as sea turtles. Balloon related litter is often the number one most common type of debris found all along our coastlines.”

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