Town of Palm Beach News

Town of Palm Beach Votes To Ban Balloon Launches

The Town of Palm Beach has taken steps to solve a huge environmental problem – the releasing of balloons and sky lanterns which end up in the ocean and pose a threat to the sea wildlife. On February 14th, an ordinance that bans the release of balloons and sky lanterns in the town was unanimously adopted by the Town Council.

Ordinances, Rules and Standards Committee recommended the ban last year, and, according to Councilwoman Danielle Moore, the Town Council took a reasonable approach. “The Town is trying to be environmentally sensitive. The ordinance specifically bans the release of balloons on the beaches and not the use of balloons,” she explained. As she stated, the town of Palm Beach is following in the footsteps of other cities that have already done the same.

Town of Palm Beach Councilwoman Bobbie Lindsay stated that this particular environmental problem was identified by Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach. “They found evidence of direct harm to sea turtles and other marine creatures caused by ingesting deflated balloons that end up in the ocean and are mistaken for food.” According to Loggerhead Marinelife Center, deflated balloons resemble jellyfish – a common prey of sea turtles and other marine species.

“The town considers the inflated balloon release ban to strengthen its responsible stewardship of our marine environment,” Lindsay said. She also explained that town deciding to adopt its own more restrictive ordinance is more beneficial for the environment, as the state’s ruling that allows releases up to ten balloons can’t be well applied to a barrier island and coastal community where sea turtles nest.

The leader of the volunteer group Friends of Palm Beach, Diane Buhler, is one of the activists who support this ban. Friends of Palm Beach is a group that cleans up waste from town beaches, and Buhler states that she often picks up as many as 14 balloons from the shore in one day.


Town of Palm Beach Votes To Ban Balloon Launches


“The positive impact of this ban could be huge,” she stated. “With the town stepping up to ban items that harm our environment, this raises awareness and educates the community on issues they may not have previously known. And it’s not just for the wildlife – humans benefit when we collectively change habits for the good. Simple changes can make a huge impact,” Buhler concluded.

Buhler also believes the town should keep raising awareness as other cities and states do. “Next steps could include banning all single use plastics – items such as straws, that aren’t necessary, are diminishing our healthy environment and harming wildlife.”

Town of Palm Beach Councilwoman Danielle Moore promises that: “The ORS committee will continue to study the possibility of banning single use plastic bags on the island of Palm Beach.”

And according to Town of Palm Beach Councilwoman Bobbie Lindsay, the Town of Palm Beach joined 25 other cities and a handful of counties (including West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County) by passing a resolution requesting the state legislature to repeal the existing law preventing home rule on banning single purpose plastic bags. “Our hands are tied from implementing a ban until Tallahassee repeals the existing legislature and allows home rule on this issue,” she said.

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