Study: Fireworks have a long-term impact on wildlife

Brandt’s Cormorant, fireworks

Popular fireworks should be replaced with cleaner drone and laser light shows to avoid the “highly damaging” impact on wildlife, pets and the environment in general, a new study suggests.

The new research, published in Pacific Conservation Biologyexamined the environmental impact of fireworks by examining the ecological effects of Diwali festivities in India, July 4th celebrations in the United States, and other events in New Zealand and parts of Europe.

Examples include fireworks at Spanish festivals impacting the breeding success of house sparrows, July fireworks being implicated in the decline of colonies of Brandt’s cormorants in California, and American sea lions of the South modifying their behavior during the breeding season following the New Year fireworks in Chile.

Lead author, Associate Professor Bill Bateman, from Australia’s Curtin University, said fireworks remain popular around the world despite overwhelming evidence of their negative impact on wildlife, pets and animals. the environment.

“Fireworks create short-term sound and light disturbances that cause distress in domestic animals that can be managed before or after a fireworks display, but the impacts on wildlife can be on a much larger scale. “, did he declare.

“The annual timing of some large-scale fireworks coincides with the migratory or reproductive movements of wildlife and therefore can have long-term adverse effects on its population. Fireworks also produce large pulses of highly polluting materials which also contribute significantly to chemical pollution of soil, water and air, which has implications for human and animal health.

Bateman said banning fireworks during sensitive times for wildlife migration or mating times could limit the impact, as well as drone shows or other light shows.

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“Apart from horses, for which there is evidence that they can be gradually familiarized with flashes of light, there is very little that can be done to remedy the disturbing impact of the sound of fireworks. about animals and wildlife,” Bateman added.

“The future of fireworks may lie in the use of safer and more environmentally friendly alternatives such as drones, environmentally friendly fireworks or visible wavelength lasers to light shows.

“There is growing evidence that these community events can be managed sustainably, and it is clear that outdated fireworks need to be replaced with cleaner options that do not harm wildlife and the environment. .

The full document, “Not Just a Flash in the Pan: Short- and Long-Term Environmental Impacts of Fireworks,” is available online here. Thanks to Curtin University for providing this news.

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