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A Voice for our Ocean

Ocean Conservancy Champions Balloon Release Ban Legislation in Florida

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (February 6, 2024)— Every year, birds, turtles, and other sea creatures suffer – or even die – because they’ve either eaten or become entangled in balloon litter. Currently, it’s illegal to release more than 10 balloons in 24 hours, but Senate Bill 602 and House Bill 321 would change the law to prohibit releasing any balloons in Florida. At a news conference today, Ocean Conservancy, the nation’s oldest marine conservation nonprofit, emphasized its overwhelming support for the bills and their sponsors, Senator Nick DiCeglie and Representative Linda Chaney.

“For years, Ocean Conservancy has passionately advocated for this pivotal measure to shield our marine ecosystems from the harmful effects of balloon litter,” said Jon Paul “J.P.” Brooker, Ocean Conservancy’s Florida director of conservation. “We are thrilled to witness the growing momentum behind this legislation, which represents a significant stride towards safeguarding our oceans and coastal habitats for future generations.”

“The release of balloons, or any kind of litter, negatively affects the precious waterways and wildlife of our State,” said Senator Nick DiCeglie (R – Indian Rocks Beach). “This good bill creates further protections by banning the intentional release of balloons. When balloons are released and fall back to earth, they cause damage to fish, livestock, pets and other animals. I am proud to work with Representative Linda Chaney to remedy this issue and bring awareness to the dangers that this seemingly innocuous litter can bring.”

Rep. Chaney said she is honored to carry HB 321 and expressed her enthusiasm as the bill moves closer to passing off the House floor.

“This issue is important for my district. Having a mixed-use district, with most of the communities being on the water but also seeing extensive agricultural land in Pinellas Park, our area knows all too much about the devastation that the release of balloons can cause,” said Representative Chaney (R – St. Pete Beach). “In our district, environmental protection is a top concern and I am privileged to carry bills that will help us preserve our natural landscapes and wildlife ecosystems.”

Ocean Conservancy has been educating the public about the problems balloon releases pose to marine life for years. A study of sea turtles found that of the 41 pieces of rubber eaten by turtles studied, 32 pieces (78%) were balloon fragments. Balloons are the deadliest type of plastic that seabirds ingest—being 32 times more likely to kill them compared to hard plastics. 

“We are grateful to both Senator DiCeglie and Representative Chaney for their tremendous support for this legislation,” Brooker added. “Their leadership has been vital to the pending success of the balloon release ban and for the sustainability of our beautiful waterways, ocean, and wildlife here in Florida.”

Ocean Conservancy has mobilized millions of volunteers through the International Coastal Cleanup® to help collect trash and data on the most prevalent types of plastics polluting our beaches, including balloons. In nearly 40 years, volunteers have picked up more than 1.8 million balloons littered across coastlines worldwide. In 2021 alone, volunteers collected 34,921 balloons globally. 

About Ocean Conservancy

Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create evidence-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit or follow us on FacebookX (Formerly known as Twitter), and Instagram

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Roya Fox




Protecting Florida

For Florida’s ocean and coasts, this is an all-hands-on-deck moment. If we work together, there’s a lot that we can do to tackle these problems. It’s going to require action on all levels—from individual citizens to powerful policy makers in Tallahassee and Washington D.C. to local leaders in the cities and towns across the state.

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