An Unfair Ban - 27 East

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Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1670807

An Unfair Ban

I’m writing to express my opposition to the proposed balloon ban [“Southampton Town To Consider Bans On Helium Balloon Sales, Limit On Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers,” 27east.com, January 13].

Efforts to protect the environment are important and admirable, but those efforts should be focused on the most damaging offenders to get the most environmental benefit from the government action — and banning the sale of helium balloons is certainly not one of them.

Stevenson’s sold a total of about 3,600 balloons in all of 2019, mostly in small bunches taken home by people to celebrate a birthday. I doubt more than a very small percentage of these were released into the sky.

Compare this to disposable plastic water bottles. There are probably more than 36,000 of these sold a day in Southampton Town. These are, of course, taken to the beaches by people to drink, and inevitably many are left there. Some may be collected for their deposit value, but a great many remain as litter — far more, from my observation, than latex balloons (which biodegrade far more rapidly than plastic water bottles) or even mylar balloons (which represent less than 20 percent of our total balloon sales).

If government really wants to have a positive impact, why not ban sales of a really damaging product, like cigarettes, a product that actually kills its users, and which smokers discard all over the beaches? Or even the plastic lids on fast food drinks, which are dispensed in the thousands every day, and which also end up on the beaches, and which also don’t biodegrade.

To single out balloons, which add color, fun and joy to a celebration, while continuing to allow the sale of far more damaging products, is unfair to the town’s balloon retailers and a misuse of government resources.

Roy Stevenson

President

Stevenson’s Toys & Games

Southampton Village

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