Ban the balloon, too

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 8:45pm

In the era when people are screaming “fake news” at just about anything they don’t seem to like or agree with, putting out the annual April Fool’s edition may seem like a dicey proposition, but here we are. 

One item in this week’s edition that may appear fake, but decidedly is not, is the story about the online pro-balloon campaign by a group called The Balloon Council, which thought it was a good idea to say that Block Island shouldn’t bother worrying about balloons because the Island has “bigger problems.”

As the CEO of The Balloon Council pointed out, when we asked the group what those bigger problems might be, any community has greater problems than worrying about a colorful party favor. That is absolutely true.

But there is almost no bigger global problem we face than the junk that is choking our oceans and killing our marine life. One floating island of junk actually has a name: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Scientists and environmentalists are tracking these huge piles of waste and plastic — and if you’ve seen a photo of them you know they’re scary. 

There are two ways to combat this problem: clean them up, and stop using products that cause them. Most of the balloons picked up on Block Island undoubtedly come from the mainland, but that is no reason for us not to ban their sale here.

We agree with The Balloon Council that proper use and education about the use of any toy or tool is a positive step, and people should heed these suggestions. But when Mylar balloons, or plastic bags, have outgrown their usefulness they still need to be thrown away.

Block Island is an extraordinarily environmentally-friendly community. Banning anything that hurts our fragile surroundings may not do much, but it’s still the right thing to do.