With how exciting fireworks are to watch, we sometimes don’t think about the harm that they can cause. A number of posts on this blog have discussed the threats that fireworks pose to our health, but what about to our environment? In most parts of this country, fireworks are reserved for special occasions such as the 4th of July and New Years. You would think that the damage would be somewhat minimal, occurring once a year. But there are also places like Disneyland and other theme parks who thrive off of nightly firework shows. Some scientists are now working on fireworks that release less smoke and toxic metals which can pollute our water and soil when they filter down to the earth. As can be expected, the eco-friendly fireworks are more expensive than regular ones. This makes it less likely that they will be used in small scale and local firework shows, but places like Disneyland and the U.S. Military are starting to look into these higher priced options.
In past years, fireworks (which are mainly shipped from China) were monitored and regulated mainly to ensure that they did not explode while being transported. In recent years, the government has turned to looking at the environmental and health impacts of these explosives. Though this is becoming more of a central issue, places that set off a great number of fireworks are not going to necessarily turn towards eco-friendly fireworks unless regulations are tightened. A chemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory has been quoted as an activist for cleaner burning fireworks though he has stated that he doesn’t know to what exent this can cause adverse health effects. It’s unfortunate that instead of doing the right thing, these places need to be forced into using more eco-friendly fireworks.
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