Fireworks worse than smog

Fireworks worse than smog

The Loto-Québec International Fireworks Festival is in full swing in Montreal until August 6, to the delight of young and old alike, but the environmental and health implications must be considered.

A study published in Québec Sciences magazine in 2010 found that there were up to 10,000 micrograms per cubic meter in the air on average on fireworks nights. In comparison, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a maximum level of 15 micrograms of particles.

In comparison, one smog episode corresponds to a concentration of 80 micrograms.

If fine dust is constantly present in the air, its concentration increases significantly on the lecture evenings of the International des Feux, which can significantly change the air quality.

The point at issue is not the end of the fireworks, but awareness of the consequences for the environment and health.

The Quebec Association for Combating Air Pollution doesn’t want to tarnish the image of fireworks, but claims the impact on people’s health is real.

Residents of the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district don’t seem overly concerned about the particulate matter released by the fires.

“There’s lead in the water, so even if there’s particles in the air… We’re screwed as well,” notes a woman who lives in the neighborhood where the wind mostly carries the smoke from the fires.

By email, the City of Montreal says that “for a number of years, the Service de l’environnement has identified a link between the passage of plumes of smoke produced by fireworks and an increase, albeit very brief, in the fine particles at the stations closest to the event.”

“[L’exposition] never lasts long and is localized. These are tips that we record,” reads the city’s email.