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Reducing Marine Debris

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Balloon page 

Impact of Balloons

DeflatedBalloonInWater_resized_300Mylar balloons, also known as foil or metalized balloons, contribute to hundreds of power outages a year in Southern California. In the 1990s, the state of California banned the mass release of Mylar balloons. Not only do these types of balloons pose a potential threat to power distribution, they also threaten marine environments. Mylar balloons can take hundreds of years to decompose. During this time they sit in landfills or end up in our trees, beaches, and the ocean where they pose a threat to marine animals- either through entanglement or ingestion.



Latex balloons are made from rubber, and while they take less time to break down, they still pose a serious risk to the marine environment. Slightly broken down, these balloons look similar to jellyfish. Latex balloons can take anywhere from 6 months to 4 years to break down. During this time, marine animals often mistake the balloon for a food source. Balloons are one of the deadliest forms of marine debris to seabirds.


Manhattan Beach Balloon Regulations


On March 6th, 2019, City Council adopted ordinance 19-0003 which includes a ban on the sale and distribution of Mylar/foil balloons. The ordinance also regulates the use Mylar balloons in public spaces such as beaches and parks, in order to prevent accidental releases. In addition, the ordinance prohibits the mass release of latex/rubber balloons in the City.