Time for an eco alternative to fireworks

Cities all over the world are phasing out fireworks in favour of laser light shows and fabulous drone displays because of concerns about polluting the air, choking our waterways and poisoning nature. Sadly, in the last couple of years, people have been killed and badly injured by malfunctioning fireworks at open-air shows.

Dolphins are very sound-sensitive and rely heavily on their sense of hearing to navigate, locate prey, avoid predators and communicate in the ocean/estuary environment. This is because sound travels very well in water. Dolphins can suffer not only hearing damage when exposed to loud noises, but also other physical and psychological harm.

Animal lovers and asthmatics alike will be pleased to learn that the members of Mandurah Environment & Heritage Group and also Peel Preservation Group are advocating for the phasing out of fireworks in Mandurah in favour of more environmentally-friendly alternatives.

Light shows with drones have been very popular in Perth but they are expensive. Laser light shows are just as good, if not better. In fact, we believe that light installations could enhance the Mandurah Christmas Lights Trail to make it even more of a draw during the festive season, as seen in the photo below.

Latest Reply from the City of Mandurah (June 2023)
“Thank you for your email which has been forwarded to the appropriate department for response. The Mayor will be kept updated.”

Recent Research (Published January 2023)
“Fireworks are used globally … despite overwhelming evidence that they negatively affect wildlife, domestic animals, and the environment. Fireworks cause short-term noise and light disturbance, causing distress in domestic animals … but impacts to wildlife can be on a much larger scale. The annual timing of some large-scale fireworks events coincides with migratory or reproductive behaviour of wildlife, and thus may have adverse long-term population effects on them. Fireworks residues also contribute significantly to chemical pollution of soil, water, and air, which has implication for human as well as animal health.” Read more.

Our original letter to the City of Mandurah’s elected members (July 2022)

“You’re probably aware that cities all over the world are phasing out their fireworks displays. Here are some of the reasons why: https://www.treehugger.com/reasons-rant-about-fireworks-4856161
In summary, fireworks cause air, land, water and noise pollution that is harmful to our environment and to our local flora, fauna and waterways. Also, dogs and other pets are frightened by the explosions.

On 21 March 2022 the Perth Mayor announced a drone show for Perth Skyworks: https://thewest.com.au/news/wa/perth-skyworks-to-be-replaced-with-scaled-back-fireworks-display-on-australia-day-c-6135914
With climate change in the news on a daily basis, and with people leaning towards being more environmentally friendly, we believe that a laser and/or drone show would be a popular choice for Mandurah as well.

On 18 May 2022, City of Mandurah Events Administration Officer Zoe Babitz wrote: “The City will continue to work towards holding ‘greener’ events. At this stage, the Christmas Pageant will continue to not have fireworks, and instead encourage people to experience the Christmas Lights Trail. However, New Year’s Eve will still have the 9 o’clock and midnight fireworks while Crab Fest will have fireworks on its opening night.”

Mandurah Environment & Heritage Group and Peel Preservation Group request the gradual phasing out of fireworks in Mandurah. If you would like us to obtain community support to this end, we would happily put a campaign together for the benefit of our precious natural assets.”

We are very pleased to have received this reply from Mandurah Mayor Rhys Williams:
“Thank you to both groups for their preparation of this submission.
I have forwarded this to City Officers and will ask them to prepare a briefing to Council exploring the matters raised in your correspondence.
From there, we will liaise with you further.”

Reply from Councillor Peter Rogers:
“Thank you for your joint submission. As you will have seen, the Mayor’s Office will be forwarding this to a briefing with all Elected Members to discuss the merits of the proposal.
From there, I believe the Mayor’s Office will be back in touch. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.”

Reply from Councillor Jenny Green:
“I do agree with the MEHG statement that fireworks should be banned for a myriad of reasons and, therefore, support an alternative method of celebrating through visual wonderment.
There is a movement overseas toward laser light shows on water or in gardens to be the preferred method of celebrating an occasion as this practice is less harmful to the environment and, if done properly, can be an awesome visual experience.”

Reply from Councillor Don Pember:
“I agree wholeheartedly. Thank goodness we don’t celebrate Guy Fawkes like we used to with neighbourhoods lit up with Fireworks, Bonfires and destruction by pranks.
Have seen Laser Displays many moons ago in Darling Harbour, Sydney and a great alternative.
I am all for environmental friendly alternatives.”

Reply from Councillor Bob Pond:
“I am open minded on the topic. I need to understand more. Whilst I love fireworks, and love the way they seem to bring community together, I am open to options that achieve similar with less impact.”

References
https://baykeeper.org/blog/do-fireworks-pollute-bay
https://www.thoughtco.com/toxic-fireworks-pollution-1204041
https://www.treehugger.com/are-fireworks-bad-for-the-environment-4864146
https://www.pdsa.org.uk/press-office/latest-news/eight-million-pets-suffer-fireworks-misery

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