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Rhode Island Town Unanimously Passes Law Banning Balloons

NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (CNN) - Balloons won't fly anymore in New Shoreham, Rhode Island. The town's council voted unanimously this week to say goodbye to balloons for good. A new law prohibits the sale and use of balloons throughout the town, which comprises the area of Block Island off Rhode Island's coast.

"We are very concerned about the environment," explained Kenneth Lacoste, first warden of the town council. "There's a lot of information out there of damages that balloons do to the wildlife."

Wildlife isn't the only concern. Environmental organizations often point out that balloons can land in the ocean, eventually washing up on the shore and polluting the environment.

Balloons Blow, a nonprofit organization dedicated to warning the public of the dangers of balloons, offers environmentally friendly alternatives to balloons on their website.

"When your community is surrounded by water, and you see the wrath of balloon trash daily, it's no wonder they are banning balloons altogether," Danielle Vosburgh, founder of Balloons Blow, wrote in an email to CNN.

Lacoste said that balloons have been spotted in the water around New Shoreham far too often. The town made the decision to ban single-use plastic grocery bags a few of months ago for the same reasons. Lacoste said that the balloon bill is essentially a follow-up to that previous legislation.

Although there are no specific party stores on the island that depend heavily on the sales of balloons, Lacoste said that there are a few places which use them for parties or events.

The new rule is set to begin Monday. Anyone who breaks the law will face a $200 maximum fine.

New Shoreham joins a few other towns, such as Provincetown and Nantucket in Massachusetts, that have banned balloons. Other states have legislation to regulate balloon releases.

(© Copyright 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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