Letters to the Editor

Why I am against fireworks | Federal Way letters

Fireworks have been a tradition for years and years for July 4 events as well as New Year’s events. But this tradition seems to be causing more harm than celebration. Let me tell you why I am against fireworks.

Fireworks explosions can emit sounds of up to 190 decibels, a full 110 to 115 decibels higher than the 75 to 80 decibel range, where damage to the human ear begins. Irreversible ear damage, such as tinnitus and loss of hearing in humans, starts at the 80 decibel range. Young children attend these fireworks shows, so they are front and center of this hearing damage.

The ears of most animals are considerably more sensitive than the human ear. Not only is it proportionately more disturbing to an animal, it can also diminish an animal’s acute sense of hearing. Dogs, cats and other companion animals don’t understand the terrifying loud bangs. Yes, there are ways to help your furry friend cope with these fireworks events, but that doesn’t always work and the animal is still terrified. Fireworks bring confusion, anxiety, fear and blind panic to animals who, in an effort to escape the frightening detonations, can get into all sorts of trouble.

Humane societies across North America report that after fireworks displays, they are swamped with calls about lost dogs and cats. Dogs have responded to fireworks explosions by breaking through windows and screens and are brought to shelters with paws bloodied from running or torn skin from tearing through backyards, fences and shrubbery. Some are crippled or killed by cars. Not to mention, all those people out there with their own illegal fireworks doing all kinds of things to different animals in the city streets. Mostly kids — or adults acting like kids — trying to impress their friends by hurting or even killing an innocent animal. Please, pet owners, keep your pets indoors and stay home with them during the “fireworks weeks.”

Guide dogs are sometimes left so terrorized by the explosions that they suffer severe emotional distress and are unable to assist their companions. By this happening, most of these guide dogs will end up in a shelter or put to sleep, just because they were scared by a “tradition.”

After a loud bang, most birds fly away in fright, and nesting mothers of flocks sometimes cannot find their own nests upon return, endangering the well-being of nestlings. Dr. David Noakes, a zoologist at the University of Guelph, Ontario, points out that the combined responses to fireworks of panic and disorientation can result in birds’ flying into a building or too far out to sea.

Fireworks produce light, noise and air pollution. The explosions of fireworks also release poisonous chemicals and particle-laden smoke, which contaminate the environment. As if we need more of that going on in this world.

Wildlife living downwind from fireworks displays are exposed to the hazards of these contaminants, as are domesticated animals and humans with asthma.

There is another consideration that I’ve been thinking about. Fireworks mimic bombs and glorify war.

Yes, they can be beautiful to behold, but at what cost? Surely at this time when we are engaged in a horrific war and thousands are being maimed by exploding bombs, we should be able to find a less violent way to commemorate our nation’s birth.

So please, this Fourth of July, don’t go see a fireworks show, don’t buy yourself or your kids fireworks to set off in the yard or street, don’t support something that is hurting everyone and everything around us.

Otherwise there won’t be anyone around to watch this “tradition” in years to come.

Cole Leras, Federal Way

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