FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) –Hold onto your balloons; setting them free can now land you a hefty fine in Frederick County.

On Tuesday, the Frederick County Council passed a bill banning the intentional release of balloons in a 5-to-2 vote.

Councilmember At-Large Kai Hagen sponsored the bill and says allowing balloons to float away is akin to littering. He says the helium-filled latex and mylar balloons have a negative impact on the environment.

“It’s litter that goes up first then comes down all over the place: in forests, farms, towns, rivers, and the [Chesapeake] bay,” Hagen explained.

Council Vice President Michael Blue and President M.C. Keegan-Ayer voted “no,” citing difficulties with how the county sheriff’s office would able to enforce the ban.

“When your chief law enforcement person stands up and says ‘I have concerns. I don’t think my deputies can enforce this. We have enough trouble trying to enforce our littering laws,’ I have a problem with this,” Keegan-Ayer argued.

“Most of these mass releases are done by event venues, sporting venues, businesses. I think that people will respect the law and find that there are perfectly adequate alternative ways to celebrate,” Hagen said.

Those caught intentionally releasing balloons could face a $250 fine.