Balloon releases condemned in Lafayette

Lafayette Parish

Clarification: The Lafayette City council passed a resolution condemning the act of balloon releases. An earlier version of this story reported that balloon releases would be illegal. The resolution is symbolic. The current version of this story has been corrected to accurately report the council’s decision.

UPDATE: Effective Tuesday, intentionally releasing a balloon outdoors in Lafayette is condemned by the Lafayette City Council.

The Lafayette City Council says balloon releases have caused over a thousand power outages so far this year and that they worry about environmental concerns.

“You know it is something we probably don’t think about. We basically think they look great going up but we really don’t consider what happens when they go up and when they land.”

The offense could be punishable by a fine.

Lafayette, La. (KLFY)  Sending balloons in the sky to mourn the loss of a loved one or celebrate a special occasion could come to an end soon in Lafayette Parish.

Talks of condemning the common tradition are expected at Tuesday’s Lafayette City Council meeting.

Ahead of Tuesday’s discussion by Lafayette’s lawmakers, the Environmental Quality Manager for the Lafayette Consolidated Government issued a statement encouraging those planning a balloon release to consider alternatives.

“Balloons eventually deflate or burst and litter the land, bayous, rivers, lakes, and shorelines, negatively affecting the environment, wildlife, and marine life,” Bess Foret said.

“Land animals, birds, and marine animals, such as fish, sea turtles, and dolphins can become entangled in balloon strings, and they also mistake balloons for food. Once ingested, a balloon can block the digestive tract, eventually killing the animal,” she said.

Foret offered the following balloon release alternatives:

Blow Bubbles

One of the big appeals of a balloon release is watching them ascend. Use bubbles, an eco-friendly alternative that replicate the same effect. A crowd blowing bubbles in unison creates a magical experience. For a greater impact, use a giant bubble wand or an automatic bubble machine.

Float Flowers in Water

A mass release of flowers in a pond or waterway creates a beautiful memorial. For maximum environmental friendliness, choose locally-grown flowers rather than imported ones. Friends and family can place flowers into the water from a bank or a boat

Flags, Banners, Streamers and Dancing Inflatables

Many businesses are realizing the benefits of using reusable, eye-catching signage. Colorful streamers, flags, and banners save money and time compared to inflating balloons with helium and attaching ribbons.

Pinwheels

Purchase or make pinwheels for participants to hold, then plant them in the ground to create a temporary pinwheel garden.

Plant Trees or Native Flowers

You can create a place to return to year after year. Search for a species that connects you to your loved one (use the language of flowers to find the perfect one), or select a species that might bloom at a significant time of year (their birthday, anniversary of death, or another special reason).

Kites

Purchase or make a kite, add decorations, drawings, and notes prior to flying.

Don’t

  • Release butterflies or birds. This can lead to unnecessary injury or death to the animals.  
  • Send up lighted paper lanterns. These are a fire hazard and are extremely dangerous to nature. Sending burning paper into the sky, as beautiful as it looks, can cause serious repercussions for our natural world.

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