Lavallette taking the air out of balloon releases

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LAVALLETTE — The borough is making strides to protect the coastal environment with the introduction of an ordinance banning the intentional release of balloons in Lavallette.

Those present on the dais for the Monday, Aug. 20, meeting voted unanimously to introduce the ordinance. Councilman Dave Finter was absent from the meeting.

“These balloons are very harmful to the sea creatures, especially turtles and anything we can do to protect them is very important,” said Council President Anita Zalom.

Lavallette’s move to ban balloon releases comes following a request by the American Littoral Society to many shore communities to nix the intentional release of balloons.

Helen Henderson, ocean program manager for the Highlands-based American Littoral Society said, “These balloons don’t just go up and never come down. When they come down they’re extremely harmful to the marine life in the area.”

According to Mayor Walter LaCicero, one of the main issues the borough ordinance attempts to tackle is the release of mylar balloons, which have a shiny surface and are typically filled with helium.

“The mylar balloons don’t decompose at all and they tend to resemble jellyfish to the turtles, which is a major issue. Also it is a big hit on our strategic helium resource,” the mayor said.

For more on this story, read The Ocean Star—on newsstands Friday or online in our e-Edition.