Balloons are at the center of new legislation in Hawaii designed to keep plastics out of waterways where they could harm wildlife.
The state Legislature has sent a bill to Gov. David Ige that would ban the intentional releasing of balloons outdoors and levy a $500 fine for violations. That doesn't mean that the state would slap a fine on your 5-year-old for accidentally letting go of their balloon, since it's aimed at "intentional" releases. The bill also allows for balloons to be released in an indoor area and exempts hot air balloons and scientific balloon releases.
The problem is that the soft materials in balloons can easily obstruct animals' airways if they accidentally try to eat them.
"Releasing balloons anywhere in Hawaii is in effect discarding them into the ocean, because that is likely where they will end up," photographer Doug Perrine testified, according to West Hawaii Today. "Knowing that such debris can kill even an animal as large and magnificent as the endangered sperm whale gives me a sense of horror when I see people at beach parties releasing dozens or even hundreds of balloons."
(The photo from Up is just because it's a good movie. With balloons. Which technically haven't been "released," so I'm hoping Carl Frederickson wouldn't be fined in Hawaii.)