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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Company Fined for Releasing 10,000 Red Balloons in San Francisco

Posted By on Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 8:35 AM

click to enlarge There's more where that came from
  • There's more where that came from

Remember that peaceful anti-North Korea protest that turned into a not-so-peaceful environmental panic earlier this year after a marketing company foolishly released 10,000 red balloons into the air near the city's Moscone Center?

The company -- TrashTalkFCM --  was intending to use the balloons as a "eye-catching" marketing ploy to draw attention to its new video game Homefront, which simulates American guerrilla fighters

challenging North Korean forces. But instead of drawing attention to the game, the red balloons -- some of which drifted into the Bay -- set off residents and city officials who could not for the life of them understand why anyone would create that kind of environmental mess.

Now the company is paying for it -- literally.

San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board has slapped the company with a $7,000 fine for its eye-catching event -- and it has 30 days to pay, according to the state.

"The balloons presented a potential hazard to birds and aquatic life in San Francisco Bay and
the sensitive areas surrounding it," the Water Quality Board said in a statement.

Specifically, the sensitive areas include the Farrallon Islands Area of Biological Significance, Point Reyes Headlands Reserve, the Duxbury Reef, and the James V. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. "These areas are specifically set aside to shelter marine life and maintain the quality of coastal waters," according to the Water Quality Control Board.

The company was expecting that the balloons would rise to a certain point, then disintegrate in the air. But the company didn't factor in the weather conditions that day, which included just enough wind to push those balloons into the Bay.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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