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Move is on to stop balloon releases
July 10, 2019

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The Fourth of July is usually a time when balloons would fill the air, but those days are rapidly coming to an end. Local community members are backing a ban on all balloon releases.

At a recent Canfield City Council meeting, Nancy Brundage, a member of the Audibon Society and an avid bird watcher, asked council to pass an ordinance prohibiting balloon releases inside the city. She offered information provided by the website balloonsblow.org.

"Balloons don't break down in the environment," she said. "Birds and other wildlife see them as a food source, eat it, then suffocate to death. Releasing balloons is a waste of money and helium."

A brief discussion was held, and were such an ordinance passed, it would require policing and possibly fines for any release. While no action was taken at that meeting, the issue is still very much alive in the Valley.

"I know that helium balloons are horrible for the wildlife," said Green Team educator Peg Flynn. "Animals get the strings wrapped around their feet, and ocean animals think that they are food and eat them. It clogs up their digestive system, and they die."

Flynn said one local school did a study on air currents and tied a note one each helium balloon to let the school know where the balloon were found. One almost made it to the Atlantic Ocean.

"It was a nice way to study air currents but an awful event for the animals," Flynn said. "We do not like helium balloon releases and discourage them from happening."

Brundage offered a solution to releases. She said tether the balloons with strings. The balloons can then be released into the air and can be retrieved afterwards.

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