Wait! Before you mark your special occasion by releasing balloons into the air, you need to read this first.
A new bill recently introduced in Michigan wants to ban the intentional release of balloons. And, it comes with a hefty fine for those who disobey.
For decades, balloons have often been released as a way to celebrate certain occasions like weddings and graduations, as well as a way to remember someone who has passed, and so on.
Even though it's been a tradition for a long time, they do tend to go horribly wrong every once in a while. Like the time this girl released a bunch of balloons to celebrate her graduation:
Or, perhaps the most infamous 'balloon release gone wrong' moment, Cleveland's Balloonfest in 1986 where they released 1,500,000 balloons at once:
Disasters aside, there has been a growing concern over the impact these balloons can have on the environment once they come back down to earth. Hence, this new bill in Michigan.
About the Bill
The language of the bill, which you can read here, says,
A person shall not knowingly release a balloon outdoors if the balloon is filled with a gas that is lighter than air.
There are a couple of exceptions which include balloons used for scientific or meteorological purposes. However, it must be on behalf of or in agreement with a government agency. Meaning, you can't just go throw a balloon outside and call it science.
The second exception is a hot air balloon.
The fines for violating the bill range from $800 to $2,500 depending on the amount of litter created by the balloons.
The purpose of the bill is to, hopefully, deter Michiganders from releasing balloons so the environment, and especially the Great Lakes, can remain clean and protected. According to fox2detroit.com,
Balloons were cited as a threat to wildlife due because of the latex material that many are made up of. A study reported that balloons were the "highest-risk debris item" and are 32 times more likely to result in death than ingesting hard plastics.
You can read more about the damage balloons can cause to the environment and even find some alternative options for balloon releases here.