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Environment

A Win for Wildlife: Balloon Releases Now Illegal in Florida

todayJune 26, 2024 12

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Photo Credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Governor DeSantis approved and signed CS/HB 321: Release of Balloons on June 24 which becomes effective July 1, 2024. The release of balloons is now against Florida law and considered littering.

Per the Florida Senate, the General Bill submitted by the Agriculture, Conservation & Resiliency Subcommittee, and approved by Governor DeSantis,  the the bill affirms “It is unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to intentionally release, organize the release of, or intentionally cause to be released within a 24-hour period 10 or more balloons inflated with a gas that is lighter than air except for any of the following:

  • Balloons released by a person on behalf of a 32 governmental agency or pursuant to a governmental contract for scientific or meteorological purposes.
  • Hot air balloons that are recovered after launching.
  • Balloons released indoors.”

The new law is the result of numerous agencies citing serious environmental impacts. One such, Environment Florida wrote, “Balloons released in Florida eventually make their way into our waterways, beaches, and coastal marshes. Marine life mistakes them for food and eats them, sometimes blocking up their intestines and leading the animal to starve.”

A study released by the National Library of Medicine in 2021 cited findings of plastic ingestion in totaling more than two-thirds of marine species with incidents involving 171,774 individuals out of 555 of those species.

“We are hopeful that this new law will reduce the amount of balloon litter that can harm Florida’s sea turtles and their habitats,” said The Sea Turtle Conservancy when announcing the new of the bill passage on their Facebook page June 24.

June Scroggin
Author: June Scroggin

Staff writer for Omni Broadcasting, June is curious about most everything and is adept at meticulously researching any topic. She enjoys the challenge of various writing styles—succinct “just-the-facts, ma’am” as well as energetic irreverence (while still factual).

Written by: June Scroggin

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