Nantucket Bans Balloons to Protect the Ocean

This week a prominent New England community finally heard the message and banned balloons to protect the ocean and marine life.

Bravo Nantucket!!

According to a story in the Boston Globe, Scott Leonard, director of operations at the Nantucket Marine Mammal Conservation Program, worked on the proposal for two years.

Nantucket Passes Ban on Helium Balloons – Boston Globe, April 8th, 2015

As Leonard said in the article, stray balloons may seem like they’ve floated away for good, but descend to the ground when they deflate.  Marine animals, including birds, turtles and fish, sometimes eat balloons they’ve mistaken for food.

“This will help maintain a healthy ecosystem,” said Leonard. “It’s an easy behavior to fix, and we have fixed it here.”

Another important message was mentioned by Sarah Oktay, a Nantucket environmental advocate.  She is quoted as saying that she and her colleagues pick up thousands of balloons every year.

As I have mentioned in other posts, in the Summer my family is fortunate to be able to spend time on Martha’s Vineyard (MV), which like Nantucket is an island off the coast of Massachusetts.

When we are on the island, most every morning I go for a long-walk on the beach.  Unfortunately, on most every walk I pick up balloons.

Last year on a walk I had so many balloons that I could not carry them all in two bags that I had brought with me.  A beach patrolman came along on his ATV and I stopped him for help.  I ask him to guess what type of trash was in the bags.  He said, “it must be Balloons, they are the number one form of trash on the beach and we find many birds and seals every year who have died because of eating them…”

Hopefully more communities will take up this important cause (pressure is on MV) and, in the future, I will not be able to take pictures like the one below, which was taken last Summer.



Preston McSwain can be found during the day working as the Managing Partner and Founder at Fiduciary Wealth Partners.  To see more of his posts about his day job, investments, and on issues such as clean oceans, and education, connect with him through the following social media links:


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2 Comments on “Nantucket Bans Balloons to Protect the Ocean

  1. Pingback: Balloon Update – Time For MV To Step Up? | Clean Oceans

  2. Pingback: What Is the Leading Source of Beach and Ocean Trash?Help Keep Our Oceans Clean

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