A Lot Of Hot Air - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1779851

A Lot Of Hot Air

The Town of Southampton is considering placing a ban on the sale of balloons filled with helium. These restrictions will cover Mylar balloons and “old fashioned” latex balloons.

Mylar balloons are bad for the environment in both production and disposal. They litter our ocean, other waterways and our beaches. They are non-biodegradeable and therefore are ill-advised.

Plastic pollution is one of today’s biggest environmental challenges. Micro-plastics have been found in our drinking water, food and even the air we breathe.

These balloons are filled with helium — a finite and rapidly dwindling natural resource.

Latex balloons also are a threat to the environment. When filled with helium and released, they burst in the atmosphere, shredding into small pieces that, when floating on the surface of the water, resemble jellyfish or squid. This debris is often consumed by wildlife, fish and birds, which can lead to their death.

For the sake of brevity, I have outlined only a few of the many serious problems with balloons in this letter.

Real estate offices on the East End have stopped using balloons filled with helium to help protect our environment. With a hot real estate market, they are selling houses quickly at record prices without the help of any balloons.

Likewise, small-business owners can find alternative products to sell rather than balloons filled with helium. It’s a small price to pay to protect our fragile environment.

My wife and I are beach people. Sadly, it is a very common sight to see Mylar balloons bobbing in the ocean in the summer.

On May 11, I watched the Southampton Town Board meeting and I saw the discussion of the proposition to restrict the sale of balloons filled with helium here in our town. I found the woman who was representing the “balloon industry” to be somewhat evasive in her answers and to be a bit disingenuous.

The balloon rep was trying her best to sidestep the obvious significant problems with balloons, just as a tobacco lobbyist makes his absurd case for cigarettes. So let me close by saying that lobbyists and industry reps are often just a lot of hot air.

Lastly, apart from my attempt at a bit of humor, protecting our environment is a very serious matter. Surely we can find alternatives to balloons filled with helium. Three cheers for our local Realtors.

P.S. As a senior citizen, I remember when I was a kid that we did just fine without balloons filled with helium. And, on a completely off-point comment, summers were so much quieter and peaceful before the advent of armies of landscapers droning away with their foul blowers.

Dick Sheehan

Westhampton Beach