The Town of Southampton had a two-question poll on balloons running on its website the last month, and the results are in. Residents overwhelmingly believe they are dangerous to the environment, but much less think the town should be banning the sale of them.
“It’s not that surprising,” Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said. “You ask people if they think cigarette smoking is dangerous, they’ll say yes. Should we ban cigarettes? They’ll say no.”
When asked “Do you believe balloons being released into the environment is a danger to the environment?” 86.6 percent of residents said yes, while 13 percent said no. To the question “Do you believe that the town should pass legislation prohibiting the sale of these lighter-than-air filled balloons?” 66 percent of voters answered yes, and 33 percent, no.
“Some people believe it’s going to hurt the economy,” Schneiderman said. “Other believe government shouldn’t tell me what to do.”
A total of five surveys have been conducted by the town, which averaged 1000 responses each. Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone believes they have been successful in their reach. A total of 972 people answered the first question, and 978 the second.
“Whether you’re for or against it, most people I came across really appreciate they even had the chance to voice their opinion,” Zappone said.
The poll was conducted to help the town board determine whether the public supports a ban on the sale of balloons — targeting not just helium-filled mylar and latex balloons, but any balloon filled with a lighter-than-air gas. The ban would piggyback legislation approved by the town board in 2019, which forbids the intentional release of balloons.