By Jennifer Rice
We are thrilled that hotel owners and wedding planners unanimously agreed to stop setting off fireworks in Manuel Antonio due to their negative impact on the wildlife and environment here!
Fireworks create a very serious problem and a very dangerous one for the rainforest. We have found that most people do not want to cause harm to the wildlife of our area, that is part of the reason they are visiting or living here. But ignorance (which means “lack of knowledge, education and unawareness of something, often of something important”) is the main culprit. So by writing this article, people will now know the effects of fireworks on the wildlife and the environment, and will understand the seriousness of it.
Firework displays and celebrations bring confusion, anxiety and fear into the lives of animals, causing many to run in an effort to escape the frightening detonations.
Firework explosions can produce a blind panic in animals that can lead to serious injury, deep-rooted, debilitating fears, or even death. This is, in part, because the events do not last long enough for animals to become accustomed to the explosions. Moreover, the ears of most animals are considerably more sensitive than the human ear. Therefore, the explosion of a firework (which 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) not only is proportionately more disturbing to an animal, it can also affect an animal’s acute sense of hearing. And animals that are too close to firework explosions often suffer significant burns and eye damage. Fireworks generate a noise level higher than the noise from gunshots (140 decibels) and low-level flying jets (100 decibels), which can cause irreversible ear damage, such as tinnitus and loss of hearing.
Also, the damage to the environment is quite serious. The color in fireworks comes from a variety of chemicals and metallic substances, many of which are toxic to animals and to humans! From the gunpowder needed to fuel their flight to the metallic materials that color their explosions, fireworks often contain carcinogenic or hormone-disrupting substances that can seep into soil and water, not to mention the lung-clogging smoke they release into the air and the plastic debris they scatter.
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. After a loud bang, most birds will fly away in fright, and the nesting mothers of the flock sometimes cannot find their own nest upon return, endangering the well-being of nestlings.
We hope we have convinced you why it is so important not to have fireworks at any event in the area. If you want people to understand why you aren’t having fireworks, KSTR will gladly supply you with flyers to pass out at an event. What some people have done which is really nice, is to make a donation to KSTR instead of fireworks, and that can be put on the flyer as well, saying that the donation was made in their guests honor and given to all attending or can be made into a poster for the event. We really want to help you and the rainforest, and we can do so as a team! Thanks to you all!