They’ve already secured some big-time victories. They’ve convinced major metropolitan cities to ban Styrofoam cups, plastic grocery bags, and even drinking straws. But in an attempt to make sure that they always have an answer to the opposition question, “what the hell is next?” environmentalist nutjobs on the left are targeting a new icon of modern America: Balloons. Yes, that’s right, according to the Associated Press, liberals are planning to target this staple of birthday parties and political conventions, “even though they’re a very small part of environmental pollution.”
This year, college football powerhouse Clemson University is ending its tradition of releasing 10,000 balloons into the air before games, a move that’s part of its sustainability efforts. In Virginia, a campaign that urges alternatives to balloon releases at weddings is expanding. And a town in Rhode Island outright banned the sale of all balloons earlier this year, citing the harm to marine life.
“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.
“The issue of straws has really broadened the marine debris issue,” says Emma Tonge of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. People might not realize balloons are a danger, she says, because of their “light and whimsical” image.
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.
That last sentence quoted above is particularly ominous, because then you have to go find out what ARE the top 10 kinds of debris found in coastal cleanups and assume that all of them will soon be banned. So, according to a recent USA Today article we found, we can soon expect the American landscape to be cleared of not just balloons but also: Cigarettes with plastic filters, food wrappers, plastic beverage bottles, plastic bottle caps, plastic bags, straws, plastic take-out containers, plastic lids, and foam take-out containers.
Now look, we’re all about keeping the beaches free from this kind of crap, but surely there is a better avenue than simply banning the hallmarks of modern life one by one until there’s nothing left. We’re all for public awareness campaigns, fines for littering, and whatever else needs to be done to keep Sammy the Sea Turtle from choking on a Starbucks lid. But we get the feeling that the Tree Hugger Brigade is more interested in flexing their nanny-state muscles than they are in really solving the underlying problems.