BOSTON – Last week, the world celebrated the ten year anniversary of the balloon boy hoax that rocked the world for just a very small amount of time in 2009. We were so young then. So naive as to what deplorable oddities the world could possibly have in store for us. Balloon boy is emblematic of a simpler time and he, clearly, will always be remembered for his one time in the spotlight because I cannot recall his actual name.
Balloons, however, seem to be an evergreen part of the news. We have moved on from balloon boy, as a culture, but perhaps we are also gearing up to move on from balloons altogether. At least in Massachusetts, that is.
A proposed law from Sarah Peake, a democratic state representative from Provincetown, seeks to ban the sale of balloons in Massachusetts. The bill introduced by Peake is known as An Act Relative to Helium Balloons and while it was officially filed back in January, it has reemerged in the news because of its advance to the next step towards potential legislation. A joint committee on environmental affairs is currently evaluating the potential effectiveness of the bill.
According to the bill, if it passes, the sale and distribution of all balloons would be banned in Massachusetts. Additionally, the release of balloons would also be banned, unless it is the government which needs to release a test subject balloon or it is the service of a hot air balloon. Basically, it just refers to those latex and plastic balloons that you either fill with your own carbon dioxide or with helium.
The reason Peake introduced this law is because many balloons, when released into the sky, eventually return back to the ground (or, in some cases, the sea) and can pose a major threat to wildlife. For animals, balloons can be life-threatening hazards if ingested. According to the bill, it would also help curb the amount of pollution in the environment altogether.
This is obviously going to anger some people who make their money on party stores or the selling of balloons, as an entire process. And I don't know how we'll find which house is hosting the baby shower/birthday party/graduation party without the balloons on the mailbox. But from where I stand, if we can help the environment and wildlife, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to survive day to day without balloons.