Riverfire: War is not entertainment

fireworks

Riverfire 2016

4.30pm 2x ARH Tigers and 2x MRH 90 Taipan from ARMY Aviation Oakey performs a 15 minute display in the South Brisbane and Town Reaches of the Brisbane River.

5.15pm 2x ARH Tigers and 2 x MRH 90 Taipan from ARMY Aviation Oakey performs a 15 minute display in the South Brisbane and Town Reaches of the Brisbane River.

What are ARH Tigers?

The Airbus Helicopters Tiger is a four-bladed, twin-engined attack helicopter. Tigers have been used in Afghanistan, Libya and Mali. TO KILL PEOPLE.

Fires Hellfire II air-to-ground missiles. TO KILL PEOPLE.

Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System guidance kit for use with the ARH’s 70mm FZ unguided rockets was successfully trialed in 2014. TO KILL PEOPLE.

Aside from this they’ve pretty much been a dud and huge waste of money (much like the current government).

These are different helicopters, but still they are made to do stuff like this.

What are the MRH 90 Taipans?

Designed to carry troops to war zones. TO KILL PEOPLE.

They’ve also been plagued with problems and a huge waste of money (much like the proposed same sex marriage plebiscite).

5.40pm 1 x FA18 Super Hornet from RAAF Amberley performs a 10 minute display in the South Brisbane and Town Reaches of the Brisbane River.

7.04pm 1 x FA18 Super Hornet from RAAF Amberley performs fly over to mark the commencement of Sunsuper Riverfire.

What is the FA18F Super Hornet?

This fighter jet has air combat capability for both air-to-air missiles and air-to-ground weapons. TO KILL PEOPLE.

The sound they produced would have been in excess of 100dB, up to a level high enough to cause pain to humans, which would definitely cause pain to animals whose ears are more sensitive.

It is made by Boeing one of the world’s leading manufacturers of arms. TO KILL PEOPLE.

Imagine being in a war zone and hearing these planes fly overhead perhaps firing missiles which are aimed at your location. TO KILL YOU.

These were presumably used by the RAAF when they ‘accidentally’  bombed Syrian troops in Syria. An incident which serves to drag Australia further into war with Syria and therefore its ally Russia.

These planes have also had their fair share of problems and been a waste of money (like locking refugees up on remote islands).

These are probably not the same planes but this is what war planes do. TO KILL PEOPLE.

7.05pm Sunsuper Riverfire Fireworks Commences
7.26pm Sunsuper Riverfire Fireworks Concludes

While fireworks aren’t military they cost a lot of money and create unnecessary noise.

The Queensland governments own website says this about the noise caused by fireworks.

Noise from fireworks can cause distress, especially as fireworks can sound like gunfire. The noise can also cause tinnitus and deafness, or aggravate a nervous condition.

People who suffer from asthma can experience discomfort and epileptics can experience seizures following fireworks displays.

When frightened by fireworks, horses and dogs have been known to injure themselves and others by running away, potentially causing accidents and damage to property.

Brisbane residents and animals have to deal with this noise especially those who live in inner city areas.

Inner city dwellers also have to also contend with road closures and crowds of firework frenzied visitors.

The wildlife seemed to disappear in New Farm on Saturday night.

The $16 million Riverfire spectacular reportedly featured 11 tonnes of fireworks and 300,000 – 500,000 people lined the Brisbane River on Saturday night.

And the whole thing only lasts for 15-20mins.

The environmental effects last longer however, the metal particles which give the fireworks their color can linger in the air for days.

This article from The Conversation goes into more details about the environmental costs of fireworks.

Our prettiest pollutant: just how bad are fireworks for the environment?

The bangs and fizzes of fireworks are rapidly replacing the chimes of Big Ben as the defining sound of New Year’s Eve celebrations in London, while around the world, city landmarks are becoming stages for increasingly spectacular pyrotechnic displays. Since the millennium, the popularity of fireworks has even extended into back gardens, where smaller fireworks or sparklers are lit up at the stroke of midnight.

Fireworks are great fun. We all enjoy guessing the colours of the rockets before they ignite in the sky, hearing the explosions echo off nearby buildings, or writing our names in light with hand sparklers.

But there is an environmental price to pay. Firework smoke is rich in tiny metal particles. These metals make firework colours, in much the same way as Victorian scientists identified chemicals by burning them in a Bunsen flame; blue from copper, red from strontium or lithium, and bright green or white from barium compounds.

There is more smoke from potassium and aluminium compounds, which are used to propel fireworks into the air. Perchlorates are also used as firework propellants; these are a family of very reactive chlorine and oxygen compounds, which were also used by NASA to boost space shuttles off the launch pad.

Terrific, but toxic

Fireworks can lead to substantial air pollution problems. There are well documented examples from cites around the world. In Spain, metal particle pollution from Girona’s Sant Joan fireworks fiesta can linger in the city for days. Across India’s cities, the annual Diwali fireworks cause pollution that is far worse than Beijing on a bad day.

Guy Fawkes is regularly the most polluted day of the year in the UK, although scientists from King’s College London have found that pollution from bonfires – the traditional way of marking Guy Fawkes – is also a part of this mixture. Fireworks can have significant effects on air pollution in enclosed spaces, too. In Germany, tests have shown how goal and match celebrations with flares, smoke bombs and other pyrotechnics can fill football stadiums with high concentrations of airborne particles.

And of course, what goes up has to come down. Fireworks that fall to the ground contain residues of unburnt propellants and colourants, while particle pollution in the air eventually deposits on the ground or gets washed out by rain. Some of this finds its way into lakes and rivers , where percolate has been linked to thyroid problems, causing limits to be set for drinking water in some US states. This is a major concern for lakeside resorts and attractions that have frequent firework displays.

Researchers in London have collected airborne particles from Diwali and Guy Fawkes. These were found to deplete lung defences far more than pollution from traffic sources, suggesting a greater toxicity. Across India, Diwali fireworks have been linked to a 30% to 40% increase in recorded breathing problems. Like New Year’s Eve, fireworks are a relatively new phenomenon at Diwali.

Traditionally, Diwali was celebrated with the lighting of ghee burning lamps – but this changed with the opening of India’s first firework factory in 1940. An Indian court petition is demanding better public safety information and restrictions on the sale and use of fireworks – but this came too late to limit the smog caused by this year’s celebrations.

Playing it safe

Some simple steps can be taken to reduce our exposure to firework pollution. For one thing, setting them off in enclosed spaces is a very bad idea, as are hand-held sparklers. Positioning crowds upwind of fireworks displays is another obvious way of reducing their negative health impacts.

Yet fireworks are already the largest manufactured source of some types of metal particles in the UK atmosphere. And the proportion of pollution from fireworks will only increase, as huge investments are made to reduce other sources of urban pollution. Particle filters are present on nearly all modern diesel vehicles and factory emissions across the developed world are continually being tightened – but firework pollution remains unchecked.

Perhaps the best way to tackle the pollution caused by fireworks is not to have them at all. But this seems rather extreme (not to mention a lot less fun). The high-precision, controlled displays that we see at international landmarks on New Year’s Eve demonstrate the great innovation of the fireworks industry. It’s time for this innovative approach to be applied to reduce the environmental impact of fireworks, so that we can continue to enjoy the excitement of displays for years to come.

Author: Gary Fuller.