Plettenberg Bay, 31 December 2019 – In the interests of fire safety and the welfare of animals and pets, Plettenberg Bay will be breaking new ground this New Year’s Eve with a laser light display at midnight on Central Beach instead of the traditional fireworks display that visitors and residents have been used to in previous years.
Spectacular firework displays may be part and parcel of New Year’s Eve celebrations across the world, but Plettenberg Bay has turned to a high-tech alternative for their celebration this New Year’s Eve.
Fireworks are banned in Plettenberg Bay and in most parts of South Africa, in particular areas at risk of wildfire. In Plettenberg Bay, there is a municipal bylaw that does allow for the local Bitou Municipality to make decisions to allow fireworks during certain festivities – and traditionally Plett’s Central Beach and Lookout Beach were blanketed with fireworks during New Year celebrations. Always on the cutting edge, the Bitou Municipality and Plettenberg Bay are introducing this safe and entertaining way to celebrate the end of 2019.
“It’s a more progressive alternative to a traditional firework display,” explains Plett Tourism media spokesperson Patty Butterworth. “People are excited about it – it has been under discussion for close to five years now. Residents and guests are concerned about the effect fireworks may have on the environment, our local wildlife and household pets that are negatively affected.”
“Visitors and residents are advised that it is illegal to discharge fireworks in Plettenberg Bay at any time and we have been advised that there will be no public display of fireworks by the municipality or any other organization on New Year’s Eve 2019/2020,” concludes Butterworth.
According to South Africas’ Explosives Act No 26 of 1956 and Amendment Act No 15 of 2003, it is unlawful to discharge firework in any building, on any public thoroughfare or in any public place or resort without prior written permission of the local authority (Section 10.34).
Yet, despite the law, many citizens still persist with amateur pyrotechnic displays as the clock strikes 12, assuming that this is the ultimate way to start the year. Here are seven ways to protect your pets on New Year’s Eve:
- Keep pets indoors in a familiar room.
- Close the windows and curtains to dampen the noise.
- Have the TV or radio on to muffle the sound.
- Stay in the room with your pets and act normally. Pets react to our emotions, so if you are calm, they will feel calm.
- Give them something to do to distract them such as a chewy bone to munch on or catnip toys for cats.
- Get herbal calming medication for your pet from your local vet or the local SPCA. The medication is most effective when started a week before the expected fireworks, so do not leave it for the last minute.
- Make sure your pets are microchipped.
The Western Cape Government encourages citizens and visitors who have information about the illegal sale or use of fireworks to report it to the City’s Public Emergency Call Centre on 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or to the South African Police Service on 10111.