GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The Greenville City Council began Thursday night discussing a possible ban on balloon releases in the city. They first started this conversation last month.
Some council members are on board for a balloon release ban. Others, along with people who live in Greenville, are expressing their concerns over banning them completely.
“It’s extremely dangerous for wildlife, especially marine wildlife and also livestock,” said Samantha Crowe, a Greenville resident. “Just pointing out the ridiculousness of if I release a balloon that has helium in it, that trash goes elsewhere, that’s OK, but if I release a balloon in it that has water in it, that’s illegal.”
City officials, like Councilwoman Marion Blackburn, fully support a ban on intentional mass balloon releases, saying it negatively affects our environment.
“We really have a duty to keep our citizens protected from these harms, we have a duty to our waterways to keep them from being clogged up due to plastic,” said Blackburn.
Blackburn believes an ordinance can issue citations for intentional balloon releases.
“I see enforcement as halting potential balloon releases,” said Blackburn. “I do see some type of warning and potentially a litter citation which I think is absolutely reasonable.”
However, Councilwoman Monica Daniels thinks that balloon releases hold sentimental value for some.
“I think it’s a matter of respecting how people grieve. And the majority of balloon bans are in the African-American community. Let’s just be realistic.” said Daniels. “With these balloon releases, someone has lost a loved one. and that means a lot to them.”
Instead of banning balloon releases altogether, Daniels wants to put in place a rule that no more than 10 balloons be released.
“There are also other states who realize that too. they eliminate mass bans, but not all of them. look up Connecticut, look up Florida, all those places, they do not ban the balloon releases 100 percent,” said Blackburn.