5 Ways Fireworks Ruin Our Natural Resources

 

As a backpacker or hiker you most likely care about things that can harm or degrade the places where you like to recreate. Fireworks may seem like harmless fun but actually they are just another cog in the wheel of pollution that our modern society seems to constantly churn out. And to add insult to injury fireworks are an unnecessary source of pollution.


Do You Enjoy the Mountains?
To manufacture fireworks the ingredients are often produced from elements that are mined from the earth. Some mining actually involves the incredibly destructive process of mountain top removal. Forests on the mountains are clear-cut destroying wildlife habitat. The leftover waste rock is then dumped into the valleys which are filled in, completely burying any valley streams. Water runoff can pollute water downstream. It is an environmental catastrophe that these mountains are gone forever.


Fireworks Pollution Affects Nature

Fireworks Pollute Our Natural Resources

Do You Value Trees?
To produce fireworks cardboard and paper are used. This consumes trees. Although trees are a renewable natural resource it is very depressing to hike thru a fresh clearcut, especially when the cut was done with no regard or buffer for the actual trail.

Fireworks started about 32,300 fires per year from 2000-2004. More fires happen on the 4th of July holiday than on any other day of the year. It would be a shame if a fireworks accident burnt down your favorite forest.


Is Clean Air Important to You?
The combustion cloud of fireworks can contain harmful fumes and toxic dusts that negatively impact our air quality. Air pollution from fireworks can drift from cities and can contribute to poor visibility and haze in our parks and forests. Jane Elder from the Sierra Club once correctly stated: "pollution never goes away, it just goes somewhere else".

Is your favorite scenic view being impacted? Air pollution is impacting the Great Smoky Mountains NP, Shenandoah NP, Acadia NP, Sequoia-Kings Canyon NP, Joshua Tree NP, Rocky Mountain NP, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rainier NP, Yellowstone NP, and Grand Teton NP. Although there are different factors determining the air quality for each park, summer fireworks can help exacerbate the problem.


Don't You Deserve Clean Water?
The fallout from fireworks can contaminate our water supplies and the residues that are left on the ground or that precipitate out of the air can be carried away by rain and end up in our rivers or lakes. Can your water filtration system remove perchlorate or other toxic firework byproducts?


Solitude is a Natural Resource.
Do you hike to get away from it all? When in the backcountry, solitude can be bliss... until you hear fireworks miles away echoing thru a valley. Fireworks can be very loud and their vibrations are able to travel far, and in the backcountry this is most certainly noise pollution.


Choose Wisely.
Fireworks are a needless threat to the well being of our natural environment. We can still enjoy ourselves without them by choosing alternatives that don't pollute or that have the least overall impact. You can make a positive difference by helping others discover these alternatives too.


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