Price Tags has has previously posted on this-the City of Vancouver has huge gatherings of people who come for a display series of fireworks sponsored by a car company-but what about all that percussion? Can anyone really think that the noise does not disturb nesting wildlife in Stanley Park, let alone children’s ears and pets in the West End? Folks state that they see all the birds the next day in the park, and that the noise was no biggie. However the Point Roberts Eagle Man has been watching nest activity of eagles in Point Roberts and has commented that nests near the fireworks site there are either abandoned or the pairs do not produce viable eggs. Indeed in the USA some jurisdictions require that fireworks not be set off within specified distances of nesting pairs of eagles. The City of Enumclaw in Washington State cancelled their July 4th fireworks this year when they found a nesting eagle pair in the fairgrounds.
Why, when Vancouver is all about everything sustainable and green is the City not looking at fireworks that are also less harmful acoustically for children with sensitive ears? Steph Yin explored quiet fireworks in the New York Times and “noted that in parts of Europe, quiet fireworks displays have grown increasingly common. In Britain, venues close to residents, wildlife or livestock often permit only quiet fireworks. One town in Italy, Collecchio, passed a law in 2015 that all fireworks displays must be quiet. By relying on rich color effects and tight visual choreography, designers of quiet fireworks programs can forgo the big explosions and still deliver a stunning show. The hope is that softer celebrations mean less stress for noise-sensitive children, veterans, older people, pets and wildlife.”
Acoustically fireworks reach a range of 150 decibels and can go as high as 170 decibels. 120 decibels is considered loud. Quiet fireworks range around 120 decibels. With the lack of “big aerial explosions” some fireworks advocates say that quiet shows cannot entertain a large audience. However Vancouver’s summer fireworks series is set to music, which may make that a moot point.
“The real promise behind quiet fireworks, however, is the possibility that they could reduce the harmful effects of traditional fireworks, which include stress on animals and damage to people’s hearing.” While proponents of the traditional fireworks insist that the loud noise is part of the experience, an American audiological specialist observed ” “Maybe, from a consumer enjoyment standpoint, people would enjoy quiet fireworks more. They can just sit back and watch without covering their ears.”