Environmental, Wildlife, and Property Issues Related to Typical Fireworks
According to the Canadian National Fireworks Association, importing of fireworks into Canada increased by almost 800% over a 10 year span, from 1.5 million kilograms in 2001 to over 8 million kilograms in 2011.
You may not think occasional use of fireworks is a problem, but it's not occasional anymore. Fireworks are every weekend and all week in areas in the summer.
Fireworks may interfere with one's rights to enjoyment of their property because they can stress pets. In fact, animal shelters report increases in stray animals and injuries and trauma to animals after fireworks displays.
But more is that firework explosions cause panic, confusion, fear, and anxiety in wild animals.
There are documented cases of loud fireworks causing ground nesting birds to abandon their nests and flightless chicks to be permanently separated from their parents during the confusion, resulting in death. Birds fly into buildings and ducks in high-noise areas grow slower and have less body weight than those in low-noise areas. Snow geese reduce their feeding time and have less rest and sleep, resulting in reduced survival rates. Many may hear frantic loons during a loud fireworks display.
Firework explosions do not last long enough for animals to become accustomed to the sound. The ears of most animals are considerably more sensitive than the human ear, so the explosions are even more disturbing to them. Turtles are a good example. They’re very sensitive to noise and vibrations. They can hear underwater as well as above. Studies have been done on the negative effects of artificial lights and loud noise, including fireworks, on sea turtles, contributing to hatchling disorientation and mortality.
Fireworks normally contain perchlorates. Perchlorates are used in rocket fuel, explosives, road flares and air bag inflation systems. They also contain metals to produce a variety of colours. These chemicals and metals are making their way into our water since most fireworks are set off in close proximity to the lake.
Fireworks are not allowed in provincial parks because of the fire risk, but fireworks are being set off on private property regardless of fire risk or wind conditions. According to figures provided by the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal, fireworks were blamed for 129 fires and almost $2.5 million in damage in Ontario between 2009 and 2013. Fire bans were in effect throughout much of Ontario this summer, but many people did not seem to realize that fireworks are not allowed during a fire ban.
More and more, silent fireworks are "taking off". They are supplied by companies in Europe, and are also made of vegetable oils, so they are non toxic. The Land Between charity is endeavoring to find wholesale suppliers. Using these fireworks saves wildlife, water quality, and now instead, you can choose great music that can now be heard to accompany the displays!
Animals experience loud bangs during thunderstorms, why are fireworks different?
Thunderstorms are natural occurrences that come with many warning signs which alert animals that they are approaching. Such cues include changes in barometric pressure (atmospheric pressure), wind, temperature, and moisture. Therefore, long before the storm arrives, wildlife have had time to anticipate and prepare for its arrival.
Fireworks come with no warning; they are intense, repetitive and seemingly come out of the blue. All of the warning signs that are present with the approach of thunderstorms are not there for fireworks. As a result, wildlife cannot prepare for or anticipate fireworks, this is why it is a very stressful experience for them. Imagine if someone randomly lit fireworks right beside your house on a Wednesday night when were sleeping, you would wake up frightened too!
- Recreational noise pollution of traditional festivals reduces the juvenile productivity of an avian urban bioindicator
- Nestling European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) adjust their begging calls in noise
- Experimental anthropogenic noise impacts avian parental behaviour, nestling growth and nestling oxidative stress
- Effect of noise on development of call discrimination by nestling tree swallows, Tachycineta bicolor
- Anthropogenic Noise and Conservation
- Does ambient noise affect growth and begging call structure in nestling birds?