On Thursday, Maryland lawmakers passed HB391/S716, banning intentional balloon releases statewide. If the bill becomes law, Maryland will be the sixth state in the country to enact legislation to regulate balloon releases. Under the new law, a person who is at least 13 years old, or an organization, cannot intentionally release or organize the release of a balloon into the atmosphere.
The bill was introduced in the previous legislative session but was delayed due to the pandemic. This year, both chambers passed the bill with bipartisan support. Once the bill is transmitted to Gov. Larry Hogan, he can sign or veto it. If the governor doesn’t act, the bill becomes law after 30 days.
“This bill, which will ban intentional balloon releases, is good news for our marine life and the estimated 96,000 jobs in Maryland that depend on a clean coast. Now, state lawmakers should quickly pass additional policies to reduce single-use plastics and offer plastic-free choices,” said Oceana’s Mid-Atlantic field representative, Jacob Ross. “Maryland is right to ban intentional balloon releases. Oceana supports the state's efforts to do more to curb the plastic pollution that’s choking marine life and disproportionately impacting frontline communities. Now, Senate President Bill Ferguson and the Maryland Senate should pass a plastic bag ban as soon as they can, giving all Marylanders the chance at a clean and breathable future.”
An estimated 33 billion pounds of plastic enter the marine environment from land-based sources every year — roughly the equivalent of dumping two garbage trucks full of plastic into the ocean every minute. On top of plastic’s harmful impacts to marine life, plastic has now been found in our water, our food, our soil, our air and our bodies, and scientists are still learning how this may be affecting human health. With plastic production growing at a rapid rate, increasing amounts of plastic can be expected to flood our blue planet with devastating consequences.
For more information about Oceana’s campaign to end the plastics problem, please visit usa.oceana.org/plastics.
Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one third of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 200 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that one billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit www.usa.oceana.org to learn more.