A California Beach Town Just Banned Balloons. 'I Hope This Will Change the Way People Think.' The Laguna Beach ordinance is the latest in a growing trend of coastal communities enacting bans on balloons, a danger to wildlife.

By Jonathan Small

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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.

Related: 6 Meaningful Ways to Reduce Your Company's Carbon Footprint

Part of a growing balloon ban trend

Laguna's balloon ban is part of a trend sweeping the nation.

Maryland and Virginia banned the intentional release of balloons in 2021. Hawaii did the same in 2022. States such as New York and Florida are now considering their own balloon bans.

"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."

Jonathan Small

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

Founder, Write About Now Media

Jonathan Small is an award-winning author, journalist, producer, and podcast host. For 25 years, he has worked as a sought-after storyteller for top media companies such as The New York Times, Hearst, Entrepreneur, and Condé Nast. He has held executive roles at Glamour, Fitness, and Entrepreneur and regularly contributes to The New York Times, TV Guide, Cosmo, Details, Maxim, and Good Housekeeping. He is the former “Jake” advice columnist for Glamour magazine and the “Guy Guru” at Cosmo.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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