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Cleveland City Council introduces legislation to ban release of 10 or more balloons

Large balloon releases are a type of littering that can disrupt electric utility service and can threaten wildlife, the legislation states.

CLEVELAND — Cleveland City Council introduced legislation on Monday night to ban the release of ten or more balloons inflated with a gas that is lighter than air.

The legislation, introduced by council members Kevin L. Bishop, Brian Kazy, and Anthony Brancatelli, notes that the release of mylar or latex balloons into the atmosphere can disrupt electric utilities service by causing power outages and downed power lines. The ordinance also states that large balloon releases also pose a threat to the environment and wildlife.

Among the exceptions in the proposed legislation: 

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

According to the legislation, 18,000 balloons or pieces of balloon were found in Great Lakes beach cleanups between 2016 and 2018. 

Several states, including Virginia, Tennessee, Florida, Connecticut, and California, have banned balloon releases. Toledo, Louisville, and Atlantic City, are among the list of cities with similar balloon release laws in place.

The legislation will move forward to a council committee.

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