LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- The city of Laguna Beach is set to approve an ordinance that would prohibit the sale or release of all balloons on city property, like parks and beaches.
The balloon ban is one of the most aggressive in the state and Laguna Beach would be the first city in Orange County to ban all balloons if it passes.
Supporters of the ordinance like Surfrider Foundation South OC chapter said their mission is to protect the coastline and sea life.
For instance, on most days Rich German can be found paddleboarding out in Laguna Beach enjoying the water and his encounters with sea creatures.
"As beautiful as the marine life out there is every day we also find a lot of trash and plastic and balloons," German said.
German is the founder of Project O, a nonprofit focused on protecting the ocean. He has documented the impact balloons have on the environment, and said two years ago he collected 31 Valentine's Day balloons in one day.
"Every time there's a holiday like Valentine's Day or prom or graduation rest assure that over the next couple days there's going to be balloons out there," German said.
Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen said balloons are also a fire danger if they make contact with power lines. He said environmental groups and nonprofits that want to protect the ocean are pushing for the city ordinance that would prohibit the public use of balloons.
"I think it's something that we need to do and it's going to benefit our environment and I'm particularly concerned about the public safety aspect of it," Whalen said. "The state has outlawed the Mylar balloons but not until 2030. We just don't want to wait that long and take that fire risk."
Flowers by the Sea stopped selling latex helium balloons because of their impact to the environment.
Owner Ginna Gossett said right now they use Mylar balloons as part of some decorations but she supports banning the sale of balloons.
"We have the power to decide to use balloons or not in our decorations so my focus on my business is flowers and plants more than balloons," Gossett said.
German said the balloon ban would address the bigger problem pollution.
"It's one small step and every little step makes a difference," he said.
The Laguna Beach City Council is expected to approve the ordinance during their meeting on Feb. 21. Supporters hope other coastal cities follow suit.
The ban would take effect Jan. 1, 2024, and those who don't follow the ban could face warnings or fines up to $500.