Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ban fireworks at the beach

Pacifica Tribune, Letters to the Editor, 7/10/12.  "Ban Fireworks" by Lynn Adams 

"Editor:  I've publicly stood silent on the issue of Fireworks all the while knowing that it is a horrible contradiction to the health of the ocean and wildlife. On Wednesday night two PBC members walked the tidal zone at Linda Mar from 8:30 to 10:30 to remove what they could before the high tide of over 6' came in at midnight.  
Clean up?  We're gone
The report I received was chilling. People were lighting fireworks on the beach as expected but many lit them at the waters edge between waves watching all of the debris (poisons, too) enter the water intentionally. Water bottles, wrappers, and drink containers strewn throughout the beach were almost as plentiful as the little firework sticks, green plastic half ball containers, firework tubes, as well as the boxes, wrappers and bags that transported the fireworks to the beach. After dark even the well intentioned people (and some had brought buckets for the debris) couldn't see to pickup their firework debris.

What I learned from this teams experience picking up 4th of July litter makes me realize that having fireworks at the beach is crazy, unhealthy and against our values as a community that cares for the environment. We work far too hard removing litter from the beaches and streets all year long to turn our back on the 4th of July and openly allow it. Even people who want to pick up their firework remnants can't find them in the dark. Sand covers up much of the debris which pops up into view the next day or the next, or months later for that matter. And how much debris is washed out with the tides to saturate the water with toxins and choke fish, birds, and mammals along its way?

Yikes, its that time of year again
If Pacifica can't ban fireworks, then perhaps, we need to restrict them to safe parking areas where the debris can be collected before flowing into the ocean or being lost in the sand. If people prefer to let off fireworks by their homes then the next day they need to clean the mess or receive a fine for littering. What is happening now is not right.

Pacifica, I enjoy fireworks, too, but the debris and the toxins on the beach and on our streets- flowing into the ocean for months and months, is not okay. Can we find a humane and safe way to celebrate and agree to do it responsibly? Just perhaps, people will learn a little something from our actions about the harms of litter to the environment that they will take home with them throughout the Bay Area."

Posted by Kathy Meeh


todd bray said...

Thank you Lynn. I think selling FW is fine but we need to ban them from being burned here.

Anonymous said...

Just keep cleaning up the beach and streets and keep your opinions to yourself, lynn. You're a clean up trash person, not a politician.

Thomas Clifford said...

Todd I disagree that selling Fireworks Is fine. We are not going to solve all the problems that unrestricted uses of Fireworks creates with half measures.I propose that we[The City of Pacifica] ban all private use of fireworks and instead allow the nonprofits to sell tickets to a public fireworks display.

City Staff and Council could locate and provided a suitable site.

The ticket fee would cover the cost of the show,clean up,police protection,insurance and a donation to the non profits.

Ticket sales unlike fireworks sales could be year round with booth set up as the season gets closer.

An if you wanted to expand on the idea, a street fair could also be organized by the same groups turning the 4th in to an all day celebration that benefits Pacifica like the Fog fest does.

With all private displays ban the Police will have far less trouble finding the illegal fireworks.

todd bray said...

Tom, your re way over complicating things. Sell them/ don't sell them but make it illegal to burn them in Pacifica.

Hutch said...

Jeesh, can't we have any fun?

Banning safe and sane firework sales is not going to do anything to stop people setting off illegal ones. In fact it will probably make things worse.

I say ban setting them off on our beaches or other sensitive areas but keep them legal.

Steve Sinai said...

Selling banned fireworks sends a mixed message that won't work. People already ignore the illegal fireworks ban. I'd like to see the fireworks stands banned altogether.

I've also never seen a place where public displays of fireworks charge admission. People would stand outside the ticketed area and watch.

I do like Tom's idea of having some kind of street fair, with the different groups selling items to raise funds.

todd bray said...

Steve, Tom, it's called Fog Fest. We have it every year...

Tom Clifford said...

Todd We can't have more then one street fair?

Chris Porter said...

I agree with Lynn. The fireworks people pay for one debris box and part of the public works department's pay for cleaning the beach on July 5th. Lynn's people reported at City Council that they were standing at the tide line to prevent debris from being washed away. The next day the pwd cleaned over 12 yards of debris plus the debris box. This is crazy and the beach ban must be immediate. HMB had fireworks each year at Pillar Point Harbour that my family would watch from my sister-in-law's ranch in Miramar. The cost of the fireworks was donated by businesses and individuals. This program has not happened in several years.