OCEAN CITY — The city Environmental Commission is addressing the dangers of helium balloons released into the air with a new informational campaign.
Earlier this week, the city began sharing a balloon-release fact sheet through traditional and social media, its website and at city welcome centers telling visitors and residents: “Don’t Let Go!”
Environmental Commission Chairman Marty Mozzo said released balloons become a threat to wildlife that may ingest them or become tangled in their strings.
“What goes up (has) got to come down. Unfortunately, it could and does do a lot of damage to our environment,” Mozzo said.
The fact sheet lists ways to enjoy balloons that won’t harm wildlife: filling balloons with air rather than helium, using natural rubber latex balloons instead of mylar and using balloons indoors.
Other towns in the area have taken up the issue recently. The four communities of Absecon Island — Atlantic City, Ventnor, Margate and Longport — collectively banned the outdoor release of balloons. Atlantic City instituted a fine of as much as $500 for violations.
Mozzo said he doesn’t believe council will address the issue with an ordinance. He believes an education campaign has more impact.
“I personally believe — and I talked to (Mayor) Jay (Gillian) and (city Business Administrator) Jim Mallon — that education is best,” Mozzo said. “People want to be aware.”