Today Straws, Tomorrow Balloons?

Did you think leftist do-gooders would stop after getting plastic straws banned in a variety of locations? Of course not! Next up, balloons:

Now that plastic straws may be headed for extinction, could Americans’ love of balloons be deflated?

The joyous celebration of releasing balloons into the air has long bothered environmentalists, who say the pieces that fall back to earth can be deadly to seabirds and turtles that eat them.

I think the real offender here might be “joyous celebration,” where dour environmentalists are concerned. As the AP notes near the top of its story, balloons are “a very small part of environmental pollution.”

“There are all kinds of alternatives to balloons, a lot of ways to express yourself,” says Kenneth Lacoste, first warden of New Shoreham, Rhode Island, who cites posters, piñatas and decorated paper.

I am sure we all will take that advice under consideration.

Balloons are not among the top 10 kinds of debris found in coastal cleanups, but Tongue says they’re common and especially hazardous to marine animals, which can also get entangled in balloon strings.
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Already, a few states restrict balloon releases to some extent, according to the Balloon Council, which represents the industry and advocates for the responsible handling of its products to “uphold the integrity of the professional balloon community.” That means never releasing them into the air, and ensuring the strings have a weight tied to them so the balloons don’t accidentally float away.

“The integrity of the professional balloon community” is not something that has ever crossed my mind before, but it is good to know that the Balloon Council is on the job.

Clean Virginia Waterways still thinks balloons can be harmful. Included in its report last year: A photo of a soaring bird with a deflated balloon trailing behind it.

The report addresses the “rising concern” of balloons, which also often use helium, a non-renewable resource. It notes the difficulty of changing a social norm and that even typing “congrats” in a Facebook post results in an animation of balloons. It even claims the media play a role and that some groups conduct balloon releases “just so reporters will cover the event.”

So perhaps cartoon images of balloons should be banned too. William Buckley used to say that a liberal is a guy who, when you are taking a shower, wants to reach in and adjust the temperature for you. That no longer seems hyperbolic. From the Left’s perspective, the great thing about environmental issues that that they can reach into every nook and cranny of life and justify government power over anything. Straws? Balloons? Nothing is too trivial, and there is no such thing as private space.

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