Balloon release ban takes effect Friday in Maryland

BALTIMORE, Md. – A new state law prohibiting intentional balloon releases takes effect tomorrow, October 1st.

The new Maryland law bans the releasing of balloons that, on landing, create litter and threaten the health and safety of animals on land and in the water.

“Balloons can be a great way to commemorate a special occasion, but when they are intentionally released into the air, they can harm and kill livestock and wildlife. They can also cause electric outages when caught in power lines,” Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio said. “The key is to find other ways to celebrate or honor a loved one or if you have balloons, be sure to ‘pop them and drop them’ in the trash rather than releasing them into the air on purpose.”

The law bans people age 13 and older from intentionally releasing a balloon or organizing or participating in a mass release of 10 or more balloons. This follows similar bills in other states, including neighboring Virginia and Delaware, and certain municipalities within Maryland.

We’re told this law does not apply to a balloon that is released for meteorological or scientific purposes on behalf of a state or federal agency or by an institution of higher education conducting research. It also does not apply to balloons attached to a radio tracking device and released by a person who holds an amateur operator license issued by the FCC, a hot air balloon that is recovered after launch, or the negligent or unintentional launch of a balloon.

Anyone violating this law may be subject to penalties of up to $100 per violation, community service, or watching a video about environmental pollution.

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