Certain balloon releases now prohibited in Virginia

Posted at 9:59 PM, Jul 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-14 21:59:37-04

RICHMOND, Va. - Releasing certain balloons outdoors in Virginia is now prohibited.

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is reminding everyone that a new regulation went into effect on July 1 that bans citizens from intentionally releasing or discarding any non-biodegradable or non-photodegradable balloons outdoors in Virginia. 

This reminder comes as Virginia prepares for the Smith Mountain Lake Pirate Days that is being held on July 16.

According to the new regulation, it is unlawful for anyone 16 years of age or older to intentionally release, discard, or cause to be released or discarded outdoors any balloon made of a non-biodegradable or nonphotodegradable material or any material that requires more than five minutes contact with air or water to degrade.

Those who violate are liable for a civil penalty of $25 per balloon released or discarded. If under 16, the adult will be held liable.

“It is our intention to address any violations we observe,” said Sgt. Tim Dooley with DWR. “This can be done in a variety of ways to include educating the individuals regarding the changes to the code or, if warranted, an official warning or summons may be issued.”