(Photo courtesy of twpixels / Royalty-free / iStock / Getty Images Plus)(Photo courtesy of twpixels / Royalty-free / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Essex motion aims to put a pin in intentional balloon releases

"Once we learn better, we've got to do better," said Kim Verbeek when asked why she wants to ban the intentional release of balloons in the Town of Essex. "The last couple of years, I've become aware of the harm that these balloons, being released, actually do."

The town councillor plans to introduce a motion on Tuesday night calling on town staff to report back on the feasibility of banning the practice within its municipal boundary.

"They create ugly litter, but they also end up in our waterways," said Verbeek. "They're wreaking havoc in our lakes and our oceans. They harm livestock, domestic animals, wildlife, birds, critters of the water with entanglement and also they ingest it."

Municipal prohibitions are not new. Over the past few years, a list of North American cities cracked down on balloon releases, including Kingston, Toronto, Cleveland, and Toledo. Some U.S. states, like California and Florida, have also acted.

Verbeek said now is the time to start the conversation.

"The communities are doing their cleanups, schools are graduating, a lot of people at this time of year release memorial balloons on Mothers' and Fathers' Day," she explained. "I think that the next step is obvious. We, and the remaining communities that still allow it, should be banning it."

Verbeek first brought the issue to councillors as a notice of motion on March 18.

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