A rising concern? After straws, balloons get more scrutiny

Balloons are released in Memorial Stadium before an Oct. 14, 2017, NCAA college football game between Indiana and Michigan in Bloomington, Indiana. The celebration of releasing balloons into the air has long bothered environmentalists, who say the pieces that fall back to earth can be deadly to seabirds and turtles that eat them.

NORTHFIELD _ The Atlantic County freeholders are expected to adopt an ordinance Tuesday to ban the release of helium filled balloons in any county park.

Balloons eventually deflate and fall to Earth, where they become a source of non-biodegradeable material that pollutes waterways and can harm the health of marine animals. Balloons -- like other types of plastics -- can break down into smaller pieces that can be mistaken for food and eaten by sea life.

Last July the freeholders banned the use of plastic bags and straws in the county’s 7,000-acre park system, but said enforcement by county park rangers would be through education rather than fines for the first year.

After about a year, which will be in late August, the county will issue penalties of as much as $500 per violation.

Contact: 609-272-7219

mpost@pressofac.com

Twitter @MichelleBPost

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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