ATLANTIC CITY – City Council voted Wednesday to ban the outdoor release of balloons.
The measure, sponsored by Councilman Frank Gilliam, addresses dangers posed to wildlife from helium-filled balloons.
The council unanimously adopted an ordinance to impose fines of as much as $500 for people or groups releasing balloons filled with gas-lighter-than-air.
“Balloons are very dangerous for sea life,” said Carol Jones, a member of the Surfrider Foundation South Jersey Chapter, a local environmental group. “Sea mammals and turtles eat them because they look like jellyfish, and when the balloons get into their digestive system, they can’t digest anything else, so they eventually die of starvation.”
Ventnor, Margate and Longport have also passed such balloon bans.
Gilliam said he introduced the ordinance to keep the city and ocean clean.
“Atlantic City is a beautiful place,” Gilliam said. “The ocean is a beautiful element of our existence, so we want to protect it in any way we can.”