Valley Voices

Next year, let’s spare the air the pollution and ban fireworks entirely in Fresno

Clovis police arrested two suspects last year rafter uncovering $80,000 worth of stolen fireworks in their home. Here is some of the discovery.
Clovis police arrested two suspects last year rafter uncovering $80,000 worth of stolen fireworks in their home. Here is some of the discovery. Fresno Bee file

All the activities of the Fourth of July are behind us. Take a deep breath — no, wait! With all the junk that remains in the air, you probably shouldn’t do that yet.

Our air quality wasn’t that great in June, but it’s worse now. There will be more wheezing, gasping for air and coughing echoing throughout the Valley this month, all because of the smoky, smelly, air polluting, waste-producing fireworks.

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Connie Bertelsen is shown in this undated handout photo. She has written an opinion piece for Valley Voices. Fresno Bee file Contributed

Fireworks have been important to us and they’ve been a tradition we’ve enjoyed. But It’s just not right to have a few minutes of entertainment that causes prolonged suffering and serious breathing problems to a lot of people.

Can we begin to think about Fourth of July alternatives for next year?

Considering the many individuals of all ages who suffer with asthma, bronchitis, COPD, pneumonia, and emphysema, among other respiratory and lung diseases, shouldn’t we do what we can to eliminate dirty air problems rather than add to the irritation?

Children and senior citizens are particularly vulnerable, but the emissions from fireworks are not good for the lungs of any of us. It’s not unreasonable to suggest that we could actually save lives by prohibiting fireworks. We are so concerned about endangered species, but what about endangered people?

You can be sure that emergency rooms and clinics were busy. Kids and adults alike were forced to turn to breathing treatment apparatuses and medicines, and others were treated for burns from fireworks.

Various organizations make a little money for their good causes through sales at their stands, but I don’t think it compares to the ultimate costs incurred. I’d like the surgeon general to put a warning on those boxes of fireworks that say “Fireworks are dangerous to your health.”

Our animals suffered as their sensitive ears heard the continual popping, cracking and explosions. In their panic, some ran away and haven’t been found.

And what about the fires involved before and after the careless use of fireworks every year? It has been heartbreaking to see people in California lose their lives, homes and possessions through wildfires. Our hills and mountains have shown a pathetic loss of trees and shrubbery.

Overworked fire and police departments have enough concern without adding to it with the predictable troubles that fireworks will cause (including all the hazardous, illegal stuff that’s brought into the Valley).

Instead of handing out matches, maybe we could offer some kind of fun wind-up or battery-operated items to children that are safe to operate? Organizations could consider electrical light shows. Some cities have already used drones as a terrific alternative source for entertainment in the sky.

Independence Day is a wonderful day to celebrate with families and friends, but I think we should seriously re-think the use of fireworks.

Connie Bertelsen Young is a freelance writer in Fresno.
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