It has been one of my traditions to herald the New Year by going outside at midnight to hear the guns going off along the Shore.
I may be wrong, but I imagine that the tradition of firing your gun at midnight originated before the invention of the telephone as a primitive way of connecting communities on this special moment in time. A few would "jump the gun" by a minute or two before the ball dropped. Then there would be a gun shot from Jeddore, then from Chezzetcook, one or two from Musquodoboit and so on from Lawrencetown to Canso for maybe 5 minutes. Then all fell quiet. Let the New Year begin.
This year was different. The few gunshots I did hear were overshadowed by fireworks. Lots and lots of fireworks. They started at 4:30pm 'til 8:00 for the kiddos. Then there was a lull until 11:50 when all hell broke loose for a good 20 minutes with an uninterrupted loud barrage from all directions. some reported as late as 2:00am.
Some people choose to ignore the effects of fireworks on the environment, releasing toxic, carcinogenic materials that pollute the air, water and soil. Fireworks negatively affect horses, dogs and cats who bolt, tremble, cower and sometimes die. We know that fireworks cause wild animals to panic and leave their roosts. The loud noise can deafen owls, bats and nighthawks who depend on echo-location in their hunt for food. Geese have been tracked as far as 500km after being disturbed by fireworks. Fireworks can trigger PTSD and cause panic attacks in those with dementia and autism.
There were 10,000 fireworks related injuries in the US last year. There were 19,000 structure and wildfires started by fireworks in the US in 2018. A friend in Ontario's garage was destroyed when an errant firework landed on the roof.
I think it’s past time for the province to ban the sale of consumer fireworks and for municipalities to switch to quiet laser and drone displays.
For more info on the hazards of fireworks, Google #FireworksHurt and sign the petition to ban fireworks which currently has over 16,000 signatures.