The New Year’s Eve fireworks show in Sydney, Australia, is creating controversy. A petition circulating online argues that the famous fireworks display would be insensitive, add to the air quality situation, and could even prove traumatic.
The petition, titled “Say NO to FIREWORKS NYE 2019 give the money to farmers and firefighters,” advocates for the millions spent on fireworks to be reallocated to farmers, firefighters, and animal carers impacted by the devastating bushfires. It states, “5.8 MILLION $$ was spent in Sydney alone for fireworks last year. All states should say NO to FIREWORKS. This may traumatize some people as there is enough smoke in the air.”
The terrible ongoing bushfires and the current weather conditions in New South Wales has led to total fire bans across 11 areas in the region, according to ABC News. Areas that wish to put on a fireworks display to ring in the new year in these areas must apply for an exemption. The organizers of the fireworks show in Sydney have been granted such permission.
Clover Moore, Sydney’s mayor, has acknowledged the petition’s concerns, but is showing no sign of conceding to its demands. In response to the petition, she said, “Our fireworks are planned 15 months in advance and most of the budget — which is largely allocated to crowd safety and cleaning measures — has already been spent. And with just weeks to go, many have already booked hotels and restaurants and planned their trip to watch the fireworks.”
While Moore has decided not to cancel the fireworks, comments under the petition, which has been signed by almost 280,000 people, reveal anger and frustration:
“It is obscene to put more smoke in the air & risk more fires when communities just outside Sydney are BURNING. And, firefighters & burnt communities need that money!”
“Simple. Australians all across the country need the money to rebuild their schools, their homes. It’s a matter of priority and this is where we show we care.”
As of right now, the $4 million harbor fireworks display will proceed as planned.