BAN The Fireworks On The Bluff!
We the undersigned OPPOSE the use of fireworks in our Bluff Community at ANY time, and especially those scheduled at the Guy Fawkes Fireworks at Bluff Harlequins. Every year, animal rescue organisations are inundated with calls from people whose pets disappeared during fireworks celebrations. Dogs, cats, and other companion animals and wild animals in protected habitats do not understand the terrifying, loud bangs. Fireworks bring confusion, anxiety, fear, and blind panic to animals who, in an effort to escape the frightening detonations, can get into all sorts of trouble. Dogs have responded to fireworks explosions by breaking through windows and are taken to shelters and care facilities with paws bloodied from running or torn skin from tearing through back yards, fences and shrubbery. Some are crippled or killed by cars. Guide dogs can be so terrorized by the explosions that they suffer severe emotional distress and are unable to assist their companions. After a loud bang, most birds fly away in fright, and nesting mothers of flocks sometimes cannot find their own nests upon return, endangering the well-being of nestlings. Fireworks produce light, noise and air pollution. The explosions of fireworks also release poisonous chemicals and particle-laden smoke, which contaminate the environment. Wildlife living downwind from fireworks displays are exposed to the hazards of these contaminants, as are domesticated animals and humans with asthma. Children have also suffered due to injuries caused by the indiscriminate selling and use of fireworks and people not adhering to rules and regulations. For fire managers, especially where 5 November falls in the summer fire season as it does for large parts of South Africa, Guy Fawkes is a headache every year. Firefighter teams patrolling every year at Guy Fawkes, says: "The patrols are partly to draw people's attention to the dangers of fireworks, but also to deal with unintended bush fires started by firework sparks, or even signal flares that land in the wrong place. It is simply irresponsible to set off fireworks or flares where the is even the slightest possibility of them landing in the bush. At this time of year runaway wildfires can easily be started by any untended flame." A legal issue - The Explosives Act (No 26 OF 1956) has the following to say about fireworks: ►It is illegal to discharge a firework in a public place ►You need a licence to sell fireworks and you may not sell them to anyone under the age of 16. ►Any premises in which fireworks are handled (e.g. a shop) should have at least two exits, and should keep the fireworks at the rear of the building relative to the main exit. ►Fireworks should not be displayed or kept anywhere that the public can have access to them. They must be kept under a counter or in a locked container. ►It is illegal for anyone to smoke or take a naked flame onto premises where fireworks are stored or handled. ►Parents are held responsible if their children use fireworks illegally. ►Some municipalities have additional bylaws relating to the use of fireworks, and they are banned completely in some areas, so ask the local authorities as to the situation where you live. If you are aware of anyone violating the law as regards fireworks, then phone your local branch of the South African Police. Also call the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) if animals are affected. The SPCA In Durban can be reached at 031-579 6500.