The city of Sydney and surrounding areas woke up to one of the worst air-qualities ever recorded as smoke from surrounding bushfires engulfed the city. NSW Health warned that wearing masks might not be adequate and advised residents to stay indoors and avoid physically strenuous activities as some areas posted AQI 12 times above hazardous levels. The smoke only began to clear in the late afternoon.
As the air quality deteriorated and bushfires showed no signs of abating – hundreds of thousands have petitioned to cancel the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Sydney. The petition, which is trending on change.org had 152,000 petitioners as of Tuesday evening.
“Give the money we spend on FIREWORKS New Years Eve to farmers and Firefighters and Animal Carers. Save AUSTRALIA’s Wildlife.
5.8 MILLION $$ was spent in Sydney alone for fireworks last year. All states should say NO to FIREWORKS. This may traumatise some people as there is enough smoke in the air”, the petition says.
Meanwhile Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore has said that cancelling the fireworks would have ‘little practical benefit’. “Fireworks are planned 15 months in advance and most of the budget which is largely allocated to crowd safety and cleaning measures have already been spent”, she said in a statement.
Sydney’s fireworks will be carbon offset and are biodegradable in order to reduce waste and environmental impact, she added.
The fireworks in Sydney’s harbour area – a grand affair, attracts millions of visitors every year to watch the spectacle. It provides a huge tourism boost to the city, however this year residents are concerned over the sentiments of the people whose lives and properties have been devastated by the ravaging bushfire.
Six people have died and more than 700 homes have been destroyed in bushfires that have ravaged Australia since September. More than two million hectares of land has been scorched in NSW alone, officials have said.