A very patriotic balloon release.
A very patriotic balloon release. Helen Warren/CC BY-SA 2.5

A lot of things are illegal in Atlantic City—underage gambling, vandalizing hedges, (probably) blowing up the chicken man. Wednesday night, lawmakers worked to add one more thing to the list: releasing helium balloons outdoors.

The Atlantic City Council voted unanimously for the ban, which would slap balloonatics with a $500 fine, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

This law isn’t meant to keep balloons off the streets—it’s supposed to keep them out of the oceans, say activists who pushed for it. When released balloons deflate, they often end up in the sea, where they can choke, entangle, or poison marine life. 

According to Balloons Blow, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to balloon ban advocacy, many other cities and states have laws that prohibit or limit outdoor releases. Ventnor, Margate, and Longport, New Jersey—all beach towns next to Atlantic City—already have bans in place, which means this newest one would make a large swath of the Jersey Shore a balloon-free zone.

The law now faces final passage. Meanwhile, there’s trouble bussin’ in from out of state: the “yes” voters were warned of possible unhappy visits from the Balloon Council. Gonna be a rumble out on the promenade.

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