Teach, Don't Ban - 27 East

Letters

Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1670825

Teach, Don’t Ban

Destroying the livelihood of local Southampton Town businesses that sell balloons is not the answer to a litter problem. Educating the public how to properly use and dispose of balloons is the real solution.

The Town of Southampton, which already has a ban on intentional balloon releases, is now proposing a ban on the sale and distribution of helium-filled balloons at party stores, pharmacies and supermarkets [“Southampton Town To Consider Bans On Helium Balloon Sales, Limit On Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers,” 27east.com, January 13]. The economic impact on these businesses, lost jobs and reduced tax revenues will be real. In some cases, small balloon businesses may be forced to close their doors after years of serving local residents by providing colorful, festive balloons to celebrate birthdays, graduations, anniversaries and other special occasions.

The Balloon Council believes in education over legislation. Teaching people what they should and shouldn’t do when using balloons, such as always weighting and never intentionally releasing balloons into the air, and disposing of them properly after your celebration, go a long way toward keeping balloons from becoming litter.

The Southampton Sustainability Committee believes in education — it even proposed implementing a plan of its own. But you don’t need to ban balloon sales to do this. In fact, focusing on educating consumers at the point of purchase is the quickest way to teach proper use and disposal.

TBC also has a “Meet Faraday: Smart Balloon Practices” national educational outreach campaign that we would love to share with the Southampton community. Our family-friendly tips and pledge card that encourages children to sign a pledge to follow Smart Balloon Practices and not intentionally release balloons are available on our website, www.balloonsliftup.com

Protecting the environment and reducing litter is a priority for everyone, but we also need to protect our local businesses. Say “no” to the ban, and “yes” to education.

Lorna O’Hara

Executive Director

The Balloon Council

Trenton, New Jersey

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