Traditionally, July 4th has been marked by fireworks around the nation, family get-togethers, cookouts, and an environment of pride for this great nation. However, based on the raising of racial tensions, the last few years the Independence Day of the United States has become increasingly controversial.
Now, the National Geographic has published a post on Friday noting that 4th of July fireworks can be racist because they ‘disproportionately affect black and Hispanic communities’ in urban areas.
Scientists found that vulnerable people and communities of color are disproportionately exposed to air pollution from firework celebrations https://t.co/L0FQgthTAK
— National Geographic (@NatGeo) July 4, 2021
The research cited was focused on California, which also happens to be the state with some of the worst levels of pollution nationwide.
“Using crowdsourced data from home air quality monitors, scientists found that vulnerable people and communities of color are disproportionately exposed to air pollution from firework celebrations,” the article states. “But not everyone is equally at risk from the noxious particles that suffuse the sky during our pyrotechnic light shows. In California, for example, vulnerable populations are more exposed to fireworks pollution on the Fourth of July,” the article added.
The magazine cited a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health; which stated that 4th of July fireworks at their highest can produce enough smoke to rival the wildfires California has had so many problems with.
“The authors also showed that fireworks smoke may be creating an additional – albeit short term – health risk for communities already disproportionately burdened by air pollution: Urban ones with higher rates of asthma, more older residents, and a greater percentage of children under 10. These areas also tended to have more Black and Hispanic residents than those with less Fourth of July air pollution,” wrote the magazine.
What the magazine is not telling you, however, is that the fireworks that are so badly affecting these communities is not because of some sort of geographical racism, but because they are lighting those fireworks themselves.
National Geographic continues: ”Vulnerable populations appear to be more exposed to this pollution: On average, the authors found that PM2.5 spikes around the Fourth of July were higher in urban census tracts in Southern California, areas that tend to have higher asthma rates, more older individuals and small children, and more Black and Hispanic residents, compares with rural census tracts and those further north,” according to the research cited by National Geographic.
Again, the magazine is framing this in a way that appears to place victimhood on minority communities on California, instead of a situation they choose for themselves, given that they themselves light those fireworks.
Jon Wu, a liberal professor of public health at UC Irvine and the Senior author of the UC Irvine study concluded that the state needs to crackdown on illegal fireworks, and proposed a shift to light displays.