Fireworks a step backward

Looks like ‘fireworks’ joins fishing derbies, perpetual economic growth, and two-cycle-engined watercraft as yet another, sacred-cow…

Oh, oh! Looks like ‘fireworks’ joins fishing derbies, perpetual economic growth, and two-cycle-engined watercraft as yet another, sacred-cow, untouchable, unmentionable issue; at least insofar as downsides to their environmental  impacts are concerned.)

I’m again surprised that the Observer’s editor remains supportive of the outdated – and declining – practice of fireworks as a community event.

Except for substituting Canada Day for Halloween, the editorial of July 9, 2014 is essentially unchanged from the editorial of Nov. 6, 2013.

In both, editor Hughes suggests a return to fireworks – despite its scientifically established reality as being environmentally unfriendly, and increasingly discontinued – not promoted – in many communities.

Unfortunately, the editorial still doesn’t tell the whole story of the wisely-ended Salmon Arm Canada Day fireworks issue of the recent past either.  Once again, it incorrectly characterizes the issue as being concerned solely with the disturbance that fireworks would cause waterfront wildlife.

The disturbance impact of fireworks on wildlife was only one part of the fireworks issue; even more significant was the toxic metal pollution of the air (that we, and wildlife, breathe) and the water (that we all drink), generated by fireworks and their chemical debris fall-out during explosive combustion of potentially dangerous metals including lithium, strontium, zinc, antimony, magnesium, barium, phosphorus and copper – described chemically in an Observer letter to the editor at the time.

Sadly, toxic chemical fall-out from fireworks may persist, unhealthily, in the air, water and soil ecosystems for long periods.

In an era of ecological, green awareness (or so we hear), communities are surely ill-advised to lapse regessively backwards into a celebration of dangerous metal pollution – no matter how deceptively bedazzling and appealing it might appear to our eager, but incautious eyes.

Thos. J. Crowley