Do Fireworks Pollute the Bay?


Fireworks can cause significant pollution. They are often set off over water, because setting them off over land creates a risk of fire. Some communities ban them over lakes used as drinking water sources because of pollution concerns.

After two Super Bowl fireworks shows over San Francisco Bay in 2016, several reports of fireworks pollution came in to Baykeeper’s Pollution Hotline.

The morning after the first fireworks display, swimmers in the water at San Francisco’s Aquatic Park ran into significant plastic and cardboard debris. That day, National Park Service staff removed charred fuses, plastic, and cardboard pieces from the Aquatic Park beach, filling four 50-gallon trash containers. Following the second fireworks show a week later, 30 more pounds of fireworks debris washed up at the Aquatic Park beach. More continued to wash up for weeks. It’s likely that even more remained in the bay, washed up on other shorelines, or washed out into the Pacific Ocean.

This pollution didn’t have to happen.

In the video below, Baykeeper attorney Nicole Sasaki describes how we got to work to make sure something like this wouldn’t happen again.

If you see fireworks debris polluting the shoreline or Bay, please contact Baykeeper’s pollution hotline


Photo at top by Daniel Parks, Flickr/CC.