BEAUTIFUL FROM ABOVE; TERRIFYING FROM BELOW
- Fireworks are detrimental to animals in the wild, to pets, humans and the environment.
- All animals have a more acute sense of hearing than humans, and react to sounds that are inaudible to humans.
- Thousands of wild animals are displaced every year because of the stress and fear caused by fireworks. Many end up in rehabilitation centres.
- Thousands of companion animals try to escape the noise of fireworks and end up lost and in shelters. Many are injured and never find their way back home.
- Humans too are affected by fireworks, particularly those who suffer from asthma: “The different colours and effects produced in these displays are achieved by adding metals to the gunpowder. When a pyrotechnic display takes place it releases a lot of smoke, liberating minute metallic particles (of a few microns in size, or even less), which are small enough to be inhaled deeply into the lungs.” (Morena, T; Querol, X, et al. 2010).
- Fireworks cause noise and air pollution, can damage properties and generate waste that has to be disposed of.
- All explosives are governed by the Explosives Act 26 of 1956. Find the act here: http://www.saps.gov.za/resource_centre/acts/downloads/juta/act26of1956.pdf
- Specific regulations apply to the use of fireworks in South Africa. Find these regulations here: Use or Exploding of Fireworks (http://www.enviroleg.co.za/acts/Explosives/regs/1604-72%20Regulations.pdf).
10.34. It shall be unlawful for any person to use or explode any firework -
- within 500 metres of any explosives magazine, explosives factory, petroleum depot, or gasometer;
- in any building or on any public thoroughfare; or
- on any public place or resort, except with the prior written permission of the local authority.
- No person shall operate a public display of fireworks on any premises without the written permission of the Chief Inspector of Explosives.
- Such permission shall stipulate the conditions to be complied with and non-compliance with any of these conditions shall constitute an offense under this regulation.
10.36. Application for permission to operate a public display of fireworks shall be made in writing and shall set forth -
- the name of the person or organization sponsoring the display together with the names of the persons actually in charge of the firing of the display who shall be at least 18 years of age and competent for the work;
- the date and time of day at which the display is to be held;
- the exact location planned for the display;
- a description setting forth the age and qualifications of the persons who are to do the actual discharging of the fireworks;
- the numbers and kinds of fireworks to be discharged and the value of the display;
- the manner and place of storage of such fireworks prior to the display, and
- a diagram of the grounds on which the display is to be held showing –
- the point at which the fireworks are to be discharged, which shall be at least 100 metres from the nearest building, road or railway, and at least 20 metres from the nearest telephone, telegraph or powerline, tree or other overhead obstruction;
- the direction in which aerial fireworks, if any, are to be fired;
- the area to be kept clear of persons which shall extend at least 50 metres from the front and to the sides of the point at which the fireworks are to be discharged;
- the area to be kept clear on which falling residue from aerial fireworks is expected to drop, which shall extend for at least 100 metres to the rear of the firing point; and
- the location of all buildings and roads within 200 metres of the firing site and of all trees, telegraph or telephone lines or other overhead obstructions at or adjacent to the firing site.
10.37. At a public display of fireworks it shall be an offense -
- for any person willfully to enter on or remain in that area reserved for receiving falling residue from aerial fireworks.
- Ask for a meeting with any company or organization that plans to have a fireworks event.
- Make sure all their permits are in order.
- Contact the councilor in the area and ask for assistance.
- Get the community involved.
- Share on social media so that people can object.
- Contact the Metro Police in the area. It is their duty to police and enforce the bylaws.
- Be an advocate for animals. Advise your friends and family about the real cruelty of fireworks.
- Contact us for support or to organise a protest in your area.