Success! East End Straw & Balloon Bans Reverse Global Warming

Straws and balloons cartoon by Mickey Paraskevas
Cartoon by Mickey Paraskevas


Since the new law to save the Earth by banning plastic straws on the East End went into effect last month, there has been a noticeable dip in global warming around the world. It snowed last week in Indonesia. Barbados recorded temperatures in the 40s. Many had predicted this would happen because of this new East End law, but no one thought it would happen so soon.

Meanwhile, the hurry-up construction of the new Plastic Straw Perpetrator Prison in Riverhead is nearing completion. It should be open to receive convicts by August 1. Until then, plastic straw violators will continue to be held in the vast tent city surrounded by barbed wire in a potato field in Calverton.

In a further development in the now booming paper straw market, those excellent straws from China, the ones that don’t wilt until 300 sips are sucked, that were selling at 10 cents for 10,000, are now available for no less than $22 per straw, although we have found used ones on eBay for as low as $15 each plus shipping. It’s the damned tariffs. Seems the Chinese ones will be dumped. Made in USA straws lasting two sucks will just have to do.

Mylar balloons on the beach
Mylar balloons on the beach, Photo: Brian Lasenby/123RF


Last week the Southampton Town Board passed a law making it illegal to intentionally release balloons outdoors. These are the balloons that, up until now, have gotten released at lawn party weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthdays and congratulatory celebrations and are later found, dead, 10 days later, in trees, or wrapped around a fish or on the beaches with HAPPY BIRTHDAY on them in faded letters. This ban will improve our environment.

Specifically banned are balloons made of Mylar, latex or rubber that can be filled with helium, nitrous oxide, oxygen or hydrogen. Exempt from prosecution are balloons released for scientific experiments or hot air balloonists offering rides up for real estate views and other purposes.

Because the penalties for each offense are considerable, fines up to $1,000 and 15 days in jail, the Town will be looking to hire enforcers possessing a good set of lungs, thus able to suck out the gas inside almost-dead balloons to see if they indicate a crime or contain just plain air (not a crime), and also determine if the offender can be excused because the balloons were released in an adjacent municipality on a windy day and just drifted across the line.

Releasing white doves is a better choice.

Leaf blower and bags of leaves
Photo: Marco Ossino/123RF


Because of the horrendous noise they make, the use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers is now banned in East Hampton Village from June 1 to the second Sunday in December between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. During these times, to clear leaves and other debris, landscaping companies will have to use battery-powered blowers or perhaps just brooms. This is good news for day laborers who will work longer hours and make additional pay. It’s also good news for the companies that employ them, who will be able to pass additional charges along to those who hire them, although the truth is those who hire them are often so well off, they don’t care. They’d rather play tennis.

There are exceptions to the rules. Gasoline-powered leaf blowers may be used all summer at local golf courses because they are far from disturbing the neighbors—and who needs a one-stroke penalty?—and by municipal employees who may use them in public parks and other places, although not on a neighbor’s leaves when they are home from work for extra pay. There’s an exception for the homeowner. If he or she wants to personally blow leaves this way on their own, it would be legal, maybe after tennis. There are also exceptions in emergencies, such as at an auto accident where someone is found to have become stuck under a pile of leaves. I can’t think of any other emergencies. But I do think it should be legal for uniformed municipal leaf-blowing employees marching in rows at the Memorial Day, Fourth of July or Veteran’s Day parades to use them after a bandleader in front blows his whistle.

Wind farm on the water
Wind farm on the water, Photo:


More giant offshore windmill corporations are vying for the business of building fields of windmills 35 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean off Montauk to electrify the country with environmentally acceptable power. Coming on the scene to compete are engineers from East Wind, Horizon and Avantguard, who we’re told have been seen around our towns with measuring tapes and surveyor instruments, measuring up the restored old 18th century Old English windmills located on our town greens. But there are no new offers yet.

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