Starting Friday, it is now illegal to use balloons at Palm Beach County beachfront parks.
Balloons have a negative impact on marine life, especially turtles. The Loggerhead Marinelife Center said it frequently treats turtles injured from eating balloons and other plastics.
"Lil Nugget," a juvenile green sea turtle recently had to pass a large, blue balloon through its intestine system before it was able to eat on its own.
Balloons can be mistaken for jelly fish, prompting turtles to eat them.
"Lil Nugget" was lucky because the balloon he ate did not get stuck in its stomach or intestines, which would have caused starvation.
Balloons and strings have been found in the stomachs of other animals too.
In 2016, Loggerhead said it found and picked up more than 1,000 balloons on a 9.5 mile stretch of beach it monitors.
“It’s not that we’re saying don’t have fun, we’re not saying don’t enjoy, don’t celebrate, but we also want to remind people that we do have an impact on the environment,” Loggerhead Marinelife spokesperson Hannah Deadman said.
Loggerhead teamed up with the Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation Department to pass the ordinance at 11 county-run beach parks.
The penalty for violating the ordinance is up to $500 and 60 days in jail.