Balloon releases are banned in Montgomery County

Releasing balloons is now banned in Maryland’s Montgomery County, as the Montgomery County Council passed the ban on Tuesday.

You can no longer hold a balloon release in Montgomery County without the possibility of a fine.

A bill passed unanimously by the council makes the intentional release of balloons a Class A civil violation, which could have penalties of $500 for the first offense and $750 for subsequent offenses.

Council Vice President Tom Hucker introduced the bill earlier this year.

“They [balloon releases] can be beautiful but they all come down, and they end up often in the digestive tracts of seabirds and turtles,” Hucker said.

The violation only applies if you intentionally release a balloon from within Montgomery County.

Also, the bill says that the owner of the private property where the balloons were released is responsible if an enforcement officer cannot identify a specific person who released the balloon.

“If you organize a party where a balloon release is part of it, you’re the one who is responsible, not every individual,” Hucker said.

The bill is complaint-based and would not apply to balloons that are unintentionally released, used for scientific or meteorological purposes, released by a minor without parental permission, or released indoors.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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