Now that the Fourth of July celebration has come and gone from our small town in the Pacific Northwest, I am certain of the following.
- Professional grade fireworks are legally bought and fired off by individuals in the State of Washington, in very large quantities.
- I love our old fashioned parade for kids.
- I enjoy watching fireworks with adolescent children.
- I am appalled that community volunteers have to clean 25 TONS of Chinese made plastic crap off the beaches after the fireworks.
I was interested in finding out how much personal fireworks were sold in our state. I did a web search; I wasn’t able to get a complete handle on that piece of information, but we are talking millions.
- That thousands of citizens on this great country are injured and permanently maimed by fireworks each year. This year a man in New York lost an arm to fireworks. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that In 2009 there were over 8,800 fireworks injuries treated at emergency rooms and two deaths from fireworks in 2009. (Eight deaths in 2008). With a conservative addition for non hospital treated injuries we are talking some serious damage. 75% of injuries were to men and 39% to CHHILDREN
- Fireworks manufacturers and wholesalers invariably advertise wit the “Show your Patriotism” motto! They fail to say “Show your patriotism by polluting the environment of America” These armaments contain millions of pieces of plastic. This plastic is small, never breaks down, and is now in the environment and will enter the oceans, eventually and find its way to your children's plates through that can of tuna fish. I don’t think we should ban fireworks, just may be regulate them back to paper or biodegradable pieces. We are not talking lost jobs in the USA here. Fireworks sales in the U.S. is a $1 Billion dollar industry, but less than 10% of the sales are from U.S. manufacturers.
- In our state, and judging from the fireworks manufacturers and wholesalers web pages, most fireworks are sold to consumers through non-profit fundraising. So while the church youth group gets to have a fellowship trip, the concerned citizens get to clean up the mess made by the buyers. Now I have no quarrel with the sellers, but maybe they ought to be on the forefront of the cleanup.
I am certain that fireworks will continue, but maybe we can hope they change to biodegradable, and the industry should consider this before the EPA gets into the act.
I am also certain there are many ways, other than blowing ourselves up with small armaments made in China, to show patriotism.
I suggest that patriotism is shown by ACTIVE involvement in community. That can include voting, being a church volunteer, making donations of time and money to local and national service organizations, being a scout leader, or just going out and helping clean up the mess that the self described “super-patriots” made on your beach.