A San Diego Superior Court judge’s ruling that fireworks displays may damage the environment and should be banned in the southern part of the state may set precedent for the eventual end of Independence Day pyrotechnics. Though public outcry and city council requests moved the judge to delay her ban until after this year’s 4th of July celebrations, the case has ruffled some feathers and started a sour public debate that pits environmentalists against an iconogrpahic American tradition.
A spokesman for the Mayor of La Jolla — the location for the most popular of San Diego area fireworks displays for the past 27 years – described the court case as a “bizarre crusade to stop fireworks” and went on to question if the next step would be ”a lawsuit against swimmers for polluting the ocean with their suntan lotion?’
Fireworks displays made over water are just one of thousands of events that are undergoing environmental impact studies due to the judge’s ruling. The Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation (CERF), a San Diego area non-profit environmental organization founded by surfers, brought the suit to court in an effort to protect the local waters. The Interim Executive Director of CERF, Marco Gonzalez , said, “There are a whole host of impacts that we know occur from fireworks shows, from marine mammals to marine birds to water quality to traffic to noise to the air.”
While it is widely known that fireworks displays rely on such hazardous chemicals as gunpowder and an array of heavy metals, the study of the toxinsnegative environmental impact on water bodies is still in its early stages. The California Court’s hopes are that the environmental impact studies will help shed light on the extent of damage done by those beautiful lights in the sky.
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