SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- A bill to ban balloons in Massachusetts is attracting attention.

Environmentalists nationwide are pushing for bans on plastic bags, plastic straws and now, balloons.

Also, locally, a bill was heard at the State House today that pushes to ban the sale, use, and distribution of all balloons.

Environmentalists said that balloons can be deadly when they are released into the air because pieces fall back to earth and are eaten by birds and turtles and they have said creatures can also get tangled in the strings.

However, Spirit of Springfield president Judy Matt said this would affect a lot of their events, especially the Parade of the Big Balloons the day after Thanksgiving, but she said the show must go on.

"We plan to do the parade, we may have to make adjustments with it.  We’d just try to find something else in place of it," Matt said.

In addition to the proposed balloon ban, Matt said helium has been hard to come by as well.  It's a problem she’s been closely following for years.

"Most people don’t know that it’s a natural resource and there’s a finite amount of it.  We’ve been concerned for a couple of years because we have to try to task people to get the helium for us because we do this parade and we need the helium," Matt explained.

Matt said this bill doesn’t only affect the Spirit of Springfield, but tons of local 'mom and pop' party shops especially.

"They will be feeling it even more so," Matt noted.

Bill Rennie, vice president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, told Western Mass News, in part: "We are opposed to the legislation, if the issue is about the environment, the legislation should be focused on that rather than just outright banning the balloon itself."

However, Matt is hoping the parade can stay the same as it has been.

"We’re certainly hoping they’re not going to ban that. It would put us, not so much out of business, we’d find something else to do with the parade," Matt said.  She said she has already been discussing using cold air inflatables if the legislation passes.

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.


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