Laguna Beach in Southern California is known for its pristine beaches, million-dollar mansions, and expensive shops and restaurants — but don’t expect to see any party balloons overhead starting in 2024.
The Laguna Beach City Council just passed an ordinance prohibiting the sale, public use, and distribution of balloons. The ordinance goes into effect on January 1, 2024.
According to the LA Times, people who buy or sell balloons will soon be fined up to $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second, and $500 for each subsequent violation.
Why is the city banning balloons?
According to a report done by the Ocean Conservancy, balloons pose a significant danger to wildlife.
“Like many other forms of synthetic debris, balloons can resemble prey and pose a threat to all kinds of marine organisms around the world, many of which are threatened or endangered,” said Ocean Conservancy Marine Debris Specialist Nicholas Mallos.
When the balloons fall back down to Earth, animals, birds, and fish can get sick or choke, eating balloon fragments, plastic valves, and attachments. Many other marine animals drown when entangled in trailing ribbons or string.
Residents and business owners have also expressed concern that the balloons get tangled in overhead power lines and cause fires.
Part of a growing balloon ban trend
Laguna’s balloon ban is part of a trend sweeping the nation.
“We shouldn’t utilize artificial stuff like single-use plastic balloons.” Hoiyin Ip, co-chair of the Sierra Club California zero waste committee, told the LA Times. “This is horrible in terms of the impact to wildlife and biodiversity. I hope this will change the way people think.”