Virginia Partnership Launches “Prevent Balloon Litter” Sites

The state’s coastal zone management program and partners offer ideas to lessen the threat, spotlighting fun and expressive ways to celebrate without producing litter.

Researchers have identified balloon litter as one of the five deadliest kinds of debris for marine wildlife. The Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program launched a website and Facebook page with its partners that encourages litter-free ideas for celebrating, remembering, and honoring important people in our lives. Partners in the effort are Clean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University and the Eco Maniac Company, which also helped perform extensive public surveys to develop site messages.

Partners around the world are endorsing and sharing PreventBalloonLitter.org, including an ecological education and research field station in Mexico, a company that leads cleanups in South Africa, and a South Korean nonprofit that aims to reduce marine debris in East Asia and the Pacific.

Visitors to the sites can find the following aids:

  • Information about the harmful impacts of balloon litter
  • A link to Joyful Send-off for more wedding-celebration ideas
  • Videos and educational activities

Virginia’s coastal zone management program and partners are standouts in raising public consciousness on marine debris. The program established the first East Coast plan focused on reducing marine debris statewide and have held three marine debris summits. In addition, it has completed rigorous monitoring of balloon-related litter on Virginia’s remote beaches.

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean—which includes New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia—is a partner of PreventBalloonLitter.org. In 2018, the Coastal States Stewardship Foundation received a NOAA Marine Debris Prevention Grant, on behalf of the council, to decrease intentional balloon releases and litter throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. (Original story 2017/Updated 2020)

Partners: Clean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University, Eco Maniac Company, NOAA, Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (lead coordinating agency of Virginia’s networked coastal zone management program)

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