There's one thing local and state lawmakers, environmentalists and even balloon makers seem to agree on — when it comes to inflated balloons, don't let go.

A long-proposed statewide ban on intentional balloon releases has been back in the spotlight recently, since the current version's introduction last spring. If the measure were to move forward as drafted, releasing one or many balloons could result in a $500 fine.

One of the primary sponsors, state Senator Declan O'Scanlon, (R-Monmouth), said even without further motion on the legislative side, the proposal is “already having the impact that they were hoping for.”

O'Scanlon said the goal was to "not have the fine levied on anyone" and he said "sometimes just introducing a bill can accomplish the mission," for an issue like this.

The Balloon Council, which is based in Trenton, says legislation is unnecessary because of the industry’s "efforts to promote smart balloon practices and the negative message the bill will promote about balloons."

“Balloons should never be released” and our motto is “Don’t let go: Weight. Inflate. Enjoy,” according to council Executive Director Lorna O'Hara. The organization includes retailers, distributors and manufacturers.

"The release of inflated balloons poses a danger and nuisance to the environment, particularly to wildlife and marine animals. Throughout numerous beach cleanups in 2018 & 2019, we have seen an average of 10 to 15 balloons per cleanup picked up off the beaches by volunteers," said Surfrider Foundation's Jersey Shore chapter in a news release.

Back in September, Asbury Park joined municipalities that have passed local bans, under penalty of fines up to $500 on any person or entity responsible for the intentional release of balloons within the city's limits.

Other local bans are in place in Atlantic City, Bradley Beach, Brigantine, Cape May City, Egg Harbor City, Long Beach Township, Longport, Margate, New Milford, North Wildwood, Sea Isle City, Somers Point, Upper Township and Ventnor.

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