Fireworks are awe-inducing...but also potentially harmful, Source: Unsplash

Vilnius organization wants to ban fireworks festival: Could be traumatic for Ukrainian refugees

Vilnius organization wants to ban fireworks festival: Could be traumatic for Ukrainian refugees

The campaigners argue that the event will be scary and stressful to the city's animals as well

At the end of September, Vilnius is preparing to celebrate a fireworks festival called ‘Fejerija’, but it turns out that not everyone is looking forward to it. In fact, the event has served as the catalyst for an organized campaign among local residents calling for its cancellation. The reason is that the loud effects of the fireworks are traumatic to animals (domestic and wild) and may prove particularly stressful to Ukrainians who had fled their country and the horrors of war.

In an open letter to City Hall, the animal right activist organization “Gyvūnų gerovės iniciatyvos“ (GGI), has criticized authorities for letting the festival happen at all.

The "Vilnius Fejerija" fireworks festival will be held in Vilnius Vingios Park, which is an animal shelter. In our opinion, it is hypocritical when information signs are erected in Vingios Park to protect migrating frogs, yet shooting fireworks and scaring the fauna living there has been allowed for several years,” the letter states.

The Vilnius City Council is in an unenviable position regarding this

The situation is complex because the local authorities cannot really be blamed for being insensitive. In fact, the Lithuanian capital promised to abandon fireworks celebrations already a year ago and when it comes to events directly organized by the administration it has made good on that promise.

The authorities also said they would stop issuing permits for the organization of events that feature fireworks. But passing the legislation to ban such permits has hit a snag in the meantime.

An official comment to the public broadcaster LRT offered some explanation: “It was planned that the Council would make such a decision on 29 June of this year, but the organizers of the issue, assessing the fact that there would be a lack of votes for the implementation of this ban, withdrew the issue. At the moment, we do not have the legal tools not to issue a permit for this event, but the municipality, as committed in the resolution adopted by the Council, does not support it.

And there you have it. The City does not support the festival but for the time being, its hands are tied to stop it from happening.

How fireworks can be harmful

According to GGI, fireworks are very stressful for wild, stray and domestic animals. Loud explosions cause them to panic, which can result in physical injury and psychological damage, and in some cases, death.

The influence of fireworks increases the risk of mortality from cardiovascular diseases by 125%, in winter - by 175%. It has also been noticed that the day after the fireworks show, the number of patients applying for asthma attacks increases significantly.

Fireworks made from heavy metals and various chemicals poison the air, water and soil for many years.

The noise caused by fireworks has a negative impact on the psychological state of residents suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, autism and other conditions.



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