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Jul 26, 2017 10:20 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village Mayor Says He Wants A Ban On Mylar Balloons

Southampton Village Mayor Michael Irving wants to look into banning mylar balloons in the village. GREG WEHNER
Jul 26, 2017 10:39 AM

New Southampton Village Mayor Michael Irving hinted last week that the village might consider banning Mylar balloons, concerned about the environmental impact of the metallic balloons when they get loose or are improperly discarded.

“If you take a look at any of our beaches, you can just tie them together and you’ll have a great big long strand by the time you get back to your car. They are just all over the place,” Mr. Irving said at a Village Board meeting on Thursday, July 13.

Referring to a local group, Southampton Advocates for the Village Environment, which earlier had helped the village enact a ban on plastic grocery bags, and singling out one of its key members, the mayor added, “I’ve always felt that we should take the initiative with Roger Blaugh and the SAVE group and outlaw Mylar balloons in the village, at least.”

The discussion came just nine days after a Fourth of July incident when a loose helium-filled Mylar balloon floated into the power lines and caused a short that blew out a transformer on Jobs Lane during the holiday parade, causing a power outage that encompassed a large portion of the village.

At last week’s Village Board meeting, Trustee Nancy McGann noted that she saw many vendors with huge bouquets of Mylar balloons along the Fourth of July parade route, noting that it disturbed her. The vendors come into the Southampton Village community without permits to sell the balloons, she said, and think “they own the community and they can make money off it.”

“Clearly, Mylar is not anything we want floating around in our village,” Ms. McGann said. “I don’t want to see those guys next year, selling those balloons.”

Though there is no proof that one of the vendors sold the balloon that floated into the transformer, Mr. Irving pointed out that there also is the concern that the balloons are destructive to the environment.

“When you go offshore in a boat, you’ll find dozens of them,” he said. “They are pretty destructive, not only to the electricity but to the environment.”

Mr. Blaugh said SAVE has been asked many times over the past 10 years to ban the balloons. He said lost or discarded balloons have been seen in dunes, caught in fishing lines and in gear used by workers dredging the bottoms of the bays, and tangled around all sorts of wildlife.

Mr. Blaugh also noted that it’s not just Mylar balloons that are the problem but also typical rubber balloons that are released at weddings and other parties, which also are found all over the place.

“While the village is concerned for the practical aspect of containing them, residents are very concerned about the environmental aspects,” Mr. Blaugh said. “From a human viewpoint, we all love balloons, so this isn’t a task we relish taking on for that reason. I wish there was an alternative, but for the moment at least, I haven’t thought of one.”

After a strong push by SAVE, Southampton Village became the first community on the East End to ban plastic bags in April 2011. East Hampton Village followed suit in September 2011 and Sag Harbor also put a ban on plastic bags in place during the winter of 2015.

The Village Board took no action, but Mayor Irving has asked SAVE to look into a possible ban.

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By pw herman (979), southampton on Jul 26, 17 10:52 AM
1 member liked this comment
The incident on Jobs Lane during the 4th of July parade was an 'accident' ........ so if someone has a car accident in the village and hits a telephone pole is the mayor going to ban cars???
By leo (16), hampton Bays on Jul 26, 17 11:18 AM
That guy was letting balloons go left and right. We were watching him. Either he's really bad at his job or he was a balloon terrorist. Lock him up!
By johnj (815), Westhampton on Jul 27, 17 12:06 PM
You can't fix stupid.
By The Real World (347), southampton on Jul 26, 17 12:31 PM
Another knee jerk reaction. Stop all the drivers texting and talking. I could sit on main st and jobs and see many. Hill ST, Hampton Rd?
Just enforce the laws. Don't ban real estate signs, political signs, ban what next???
By knitter (1260), Southampton on Jul 26, 17 2:19 PM
Maybe the SH villagers should ban the Mayor. What a jerk!
By HamptonDad (136), Hampton Bays on Jul 26, 17 4:12 PM
The mayor and the trustees, leftist scrooges that they are, are fiddling while Southampton burns. How about addressing the problems with pesticide runoff from all the mansions in the Village? They are literally banning toys in Sombertown.
By Babyboo (233), Hampton Bays on Jul 26, 17 6:24 PM
You are all ignoring the fact that these balloons are a real problem. Personally I have taken 3 out of the water this summer and another 5 off the beach while walking. Thats just me, with my limited ocean time. Anyone who knows anything about the local waters knows these balloons are a major polluter. Or course there are other issues, but if the mayor wants to make a change that will help our marine environment why hate on it? Buy your kid and ice cream and stop wasting your money on crap balloons.
By Corwin1879 (31), Southampton on Jul 26, 17 10:56 PM
Agreed!! Im always picking up mylar balloons from the beaches year round. The village banned plastic bags for a reason, same should apply for these balloons.
By toes in the water (635), southampton on Jul 27, 17 6:39 AM
Seems like most of the opposition to this ban is coming from Hampton Bays Residents. I'll tell you what, why don't people bring a bunch of Mylar Balloons to the St Patricks Day Parade next year and then we'll see that goes.
By JM11968 (69), southampton on Jul 27, 17 12:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
Didn't realize it was such an issue, I never saw one on a beach in HB. I guess, SHV has their own issues, so keep your Mayor and ban the balloons. The second part of your remark was pretty stupid.
By HamptonDad (136), Hampton Bays on Jul 27, 17 2:42 PM
The fact is HB does not have any ocean front homes. If you did you would realize what the eastern half of SH goes though.
By JM11968 (69), southampton on Jul 27, 17 4:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
Good. They're ultra tacky. So are those creepy roadside memorials. Neither improves humanity or the landscape.
By btdt (421), water mill on Jul 27, 17 8:56 PM
OK ..... now it comes to light ........ the eastern half of SH with its ocean front homes is different from HB ...... which by the way has more waterfront than any other village/town in Southampton Town ..... and, therefore, HB cannot understand what SHV goes through This may be true ....... SHV has more parties at the ocean front homes than HB as the ocean in HB is not developed but is left in its primitive natural state with beaches available to all with seasonal passes.
By leo (16), hampton Bays on Jul 28, 17 3:11 PM
Nancy, did you call the police??? You are a elected official, should have been taken care of... Maybe next year???
By knitter (1260), Southampton on Jul 31, 17 8:38 PM
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