Do fireworks contribute to air pollution? Yes.
Are fireworks considered “outdoor burning” which is banned during a Stage One Burn Ban which has been called by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) this New Year’s Eve?
Given “the exceedance of fine particle pollution” acknowledged as commonly associated with, and attributed to, fireworks you would think so.
But will the biggest and best fireworks show in the history of the Space Needle planned for this New Year’s Eve be photographed by the smoke detectors subcontracting with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency?
Because the burn ban patrol, aka the Community Service and Code Enforcement Officers of the Lakewood Police Department, will be in your neighborhood looking for the tale-tell smoke emanating from your chimney as you try to stay warm by your fireplace or should you be out and about enjoying a roasted marshmallow or two.
Pyro Spectaculars, on the other hand, will explode away with “tens of thousands of fireworks set up at 72 points on the 605-foot icon illuminating the entire structure with pyrotechnics for eight minutes.”
Fireworks get a pass. Backyard BBQ’s do not.
“Due to developing stagnant weather conditions and rising air pollution, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is issuing a Stage 1 burn ban for Pierce and Snohomish counties, effective at 4 pm, December 30, 2014.”
That’s Pierce County and Snohomish County.
The Space Needle is in King County. There is no burn ban in King County.
Besides, fireworks – despite their similarity to smoke emissions, the tiny size of latter according to the PSCAA allowing them “to be easily inhaled, bypassing the immune system and proceeding deep into the lungs, where they can cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems, including premature death” – happen only on festive occasions.
Craig Kenworthy, Executive Director of the PSCAA, declared as much during a meeting of the PSCAA’s Advisory Council this past September 17.
“The Board’s approach is to acknowledge there are harmful effects related to fireworks, but this is one day out of the year and the fine particle pollution usually dissipates the next day.”
Yes, but, Advisory Council (AC) member Ms. Oleru responded, “there are several health issues around fireworks.”
Indeed there are: “lung cancer, skin irritation, wart formation, respiratory tract irritation, reproduction hazards, and plant and animal poisoning.”
The AC’s Mr. Jordan “asked if fireworks on New Year’s Eve impact the exceedance value.”
And the AC’s Ms. Lynett chimed in: “the City of Tacoma pays for Freedom Fireworks,” which, added Lynett, “seems odd if the city sponsored fireworks are contributing (to the problem).”
The PSCAA, which must report exceedance data to the Department of Ecology, “will flag” fireworks “for consideration under the exceptional event rule.”
The Exceptional Event Rule has two escape clauses for causers of premature death: One allows “events that are not reasonably controllable or preventable.”
Is the 21st New Year’s Eve at the Space Needle preventable? Are you kidding?
Billed as among the most spectacular fireworks shows in the entire country, “T-Mobile is sponsoring the show, which also will be broadcast on KING 5 Television. KEXP 90.3 FM is broadcasting the music, including selections from The Beatles, Al Green and Allen Stone.
“New Year’s Eve parties are sold out on the observation deck and the SkyCity restaurant on the 605-foot landmark of the 1962 World’s Fair.”
Is the PSCAA going to tell the estimated “20,000 people ringing in the new year on the Seattle Center grounds with 400,000 more watching the fireworks from surrounding neighborhoods and another half-million tuning in from home” the show’s been cancelled?
Because you could die or for any number of other health reasons?
Why not? Because of Exceptional Event Rule escape-clause reason number two: “the event is caused by human activity that is unlikely to recur at a particular location.”
Until next year. In King County. Where the Needle is. Where there is no burn ban.
Where it’s all (cough) a show.