A study has tracked wild birds in three countries in Europe to examine the long-term impact of fireworks. In a new study led by Curtin University, experts report that fireworks should be replaced with cleaner laser and drone light shows to avoid “highly damaging” impacts.
Lead author Professor Bill Bateman noted that fireworks remain popular around the world despite overwhelming evidence that they have a negative impact on wildlife, domestic animals and the environment.
“Fireworks create short-term light and noise disturbances that cause distress in domestic animals that can be managed before or after a fireworks event, but the impacts on wildlife can be on a much larger scale,” said Professor Bateman.
“The annual timing of some large-scale fireworks events coincides with wildlife migratory or reproductive movements and therefore may have long-term adverse population effects”.
“Fireworks also produce significant pulses of highly polluting materials that also contribute significantly to the chemical contamination of soil, water, and air, which has implications for human and animal health.”
“The future of fireworks displays may lie in the use of safer and greener alternatives, such as drones, green fireworks, or visible-wavelength lasers for light shows.”
Does Fireworks affect wild birds?
Yes, fireworks can have a significant impact on wildlife, particularly birds and other animals that are sensitive to loud noises and bright lights.
Fireworks can cause a variety of negative effects on wildlife, such as:
Hearing Damage: Many birds rely heavily on their sense of hearing to communicate with each other, locate food, and avoid predators. Loud fireworks can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss in birds, which can interfere with their ability to survive.
Stress: Fireworks can cause stress in animals, particularly those that are already anxious or fearful. Stress can lead to changes in behaviour, such as decreased eating, aggression, or avoidance of certain areas.
Breeding and nesting disruption: Loud noises and bright lights can disrupt the breeding and nesting patterns of birds and other animals. This can lead to reduced reproductive success and, in some cases, the abandonment of nests or young.
Habitat Destruction: Fireworks can start fires that destroy habitats and harm wildlife. Additionally, debris from fireworks can pollute the environment and harm animals that ingest it.
Negative effect of fireworks on the environment
The bursts and explosions of pyrotechnics, firecrackers or fireworks are a great spectacle for the human eye, however, they negatively impact the environment where wildlife lives. Some of the manifestations of this affectation are the following:
- Production of toxic waste.
- Pollution of the environment in general and increase in global warming.
- Decreased visibility and a feeling of haze due to the amount of smoke.
- Alteration of the composition in bodies of water, such as ponds, rivers, lakes, lagoons and seas, harming both microorganisms and aquatic animals and those who drink or live near them.
- Ecosystem disturbance gave the number and duration of the outbursts.
- Potential to cause fires, even of uncontrollable magnitude, destroying the natural habitat of a large number of wild species.
How to avoid the damage caused by fireworks
To avoid the negative impact of fireworks on wild animals, it is better not to use them. But if this is not possible, these recommendations could minimize it:
Use quiet or low-noise fireworks: Many cities and municipalities now offer quiet or low-noise fireworks displays that reduce the impact of fireworks on nearby wildlife and domestic animals.
These displays use special effects, such as lasers and light shows, to create a visually stunning display without the loud noise and bright flashes of traditional fireworks.
Avoid using fireworks near sensitive areas: Avoid lighting fireworks near sensitive habitats, such as wetlands, nature reserves, or areas where endangered species live. Also, avoid areas where pets or other animals may be present.
Clean Up After Your Fireworks Display – Be sure to clean up any debris or trash left behind after your fireworks display. This can help prevent litter from polluting the environment and harming animals that might ingest it.
Educate yourself and others: Educate yourself and others about the impact of fireworks on wildlife and domestic animals. Spread the word about alternative ways to celebrate, like using light displays or participating in community events.
Be a responsible pet owner: Keep pets indoors during fireworks displays, or in a safe, quiet area away from the noise. Also, make sure your pets are wearing identification tags in case they get lost or startled during the fireworks display.
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