Thursday, July 2, 2009
Are Fireworks Good for the Environment?
So I went to see fireworks last night in celebration of Canada’s 142nd birthday.
They were so beautiful. I remember sitting there in a daze of complete awe. Just watching the many different colors light up the sky makes the world seem so wondrous. I think it was the best Fireworks display I have ever seen. It was a great show, it lasted about thirty glorious minutes, and when it was over the crowd was cheering, obviously in the same frame of mind that I was.
When the fireworks ended, and hundreds of kids were screaming with excitement running back to their family car, while everyone else was rushing and honking at each other to get out of the parking lot, I patiently waited to avoid any of the thrilling conflict that surrounded me. It was then I looked up into the sky, where to my disgust, I saw firework residue floating around in the air, almost like we were standing under a war zone.
That got me to thinking. As beautiful as the display was, and how it made almost every person watching it feel ‘at one’ with the environment, how harmful was it, really?
Fireworks get their ostentation from various chemicals; chemicals which are toxic to man kind. Fireworks contain metallic compounds which is what makes them colorful. Gunpowder is what makes them explode into what looks like glorious confetti. They often contain radioactive, carcinogenic or endocrine-disrupting substances. These things creep into our natural environment, such as soil and water. The residues from our fireworks turn into toxic rain and smog, which get into our lakes, rivers and bays. A lot of these chemicals are relentless to the environment, as they do not break down.
Statistics show that about .03% of the planets toxins come from fireworks, every year. That seems very little, but if you add up all the years fireworks have been available, plus all the years to come, it seems … well… wrong.
Although this bothers me, it probably will not prevent me from going to see them again. Even if I decided to boycott these types of events, I would still see them if I were to stand out on my balcony. So, I doubt I will ever stop going to see them. There is just something too magical about a black sky lighting up at night, plus, it makes me smile.
Happy Birthday Canada. Hope you enjoyed the pollution we decided to get you. I know we did.