Solana Beach council approves second reading of helium balloon ban

Solana Beach City Hall
(Staff file photo)

The Solana Beach City Council approved a second reading of an ordinance that bans balloons filled with helium or other lifting gases during a May 11 meeting. The ordinance takes effect in 30 days.

Selling, using and distributing balloons with helium or other “lighter than air” gases are prohibited.

Residents and local groups, such as the Surfrider Foundation, have been advocating for the ban as a way of cutting down on pollution that accumulates in the ocean and on beaches. The text of the ordinance also mentioned the adverse impacts of balloons when they fall from the sky and come into contact with animals and power lines.

“The Ocean Conservancy lists balloons as the second most dangerous debris item since they are frequently mistaken as food by birds, mammals, and marine life,” the ordinance reads. “When balloons are ingested, they block the animals’ digestive track, which leads to a loss of nutrition, internal injury, starvation, and death.”

Other cities throughout the U.S. have adopted similar local bans, including Encinitas.

“Balloons have been a symbol of celebration for so long, but the harm they do is absolutely nothing to celebrate at all,” Solana Beach Mayor Lesa Heebner said in April, when the council approved a first reading of an ordinance.