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Noisy and polluting, petition says, should fireworks be banned?

Do you enjoy fireworks or would you rather see a light show at your Canada Day celebration?
A petition to the Canadian federal government seeks an end to federal subsidies of fireworks events.| Getty Images/Artur Debat

A B.C. animal advocacy group says fireworks exploding in the night sky is an outdated and dangerous way of celebrating — and should be banned.

The Vancouver-based The Furbearers group is supporting a petition calling for the end of federal subsidies for fireworks.

Lesley Fox, whose wildlife protection charity distributes doorhangers about coexisting with wild animals in the Tri-Cities, said setting off fireworks creates stress and is harmful to wildlife, pets and people with PTSD.

Fireworks may also contain toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment, said Fox, who told the Tri-City News that using them even for supervised events, such as Canada Day, sends the wrong message.

“I think we really need to engage with scientists and people who are in a positions to offer guidance in how we can responsibly entertain ourselves,” said Fox.

“We’ve used fireworks for decades to celebrate holidays and special events [but] I think fireworks are becoming more and more controversial; they have a negative impact on the environment, disturb wildlife, create noise pollution and fire hazards.”

The Furbearers is supporting a federal petition calling on the federal government to stop subsidies for fireworks and instead consider light displays for celebrations.

The petition states that the surface has only been scratched in understanding how detrimentally toxic to the environment fireworks is.

So far 446 people have signed the online petition, but 500 are needed to before it will be read out in Parliament and generate a response.

Fox said light displays would need to be done in a controlled manner — such as against a building — to avoid creating other problems for wildlife.

Similarly drone light shows could be used instead, she said, but would also have to be done carefully.

“Fireworks no longer seem like an appropriate form of entertainment. That’s not to say we’re party poopers [but] there are innovative technologies, such as lasers, light shows and drones,” said Fox.

“These displays come with their own issues but should be looked at as we move toward replacement and refinement about how we entertainment ourselves. They are a very 1980s approach toward celebrating.”