The government of Ecuador has banned most fireworks on the Galapagos Islands to protect the islands’ unique animal inhabitants from the stress caused by the sound of explosions.
Officials announced the ban Friday, just days before New Year’s celebrations in which fireworks are traditionally set off.
The Galapagos Islands’ local council said in a statement that it had passed “unanimously a resolution that prohibits the importation, sale, distribution and use of fireworks or pyrotechnics in the Galapagos province.”
Officials say the islands’ wildlife previously suffered from heart problems and nervous stress because of the sound of fireworks set off on the World Heritage Site. They also say the ban on fireworks will prevent any possible deterioration of air quality as well as prevent the pollution of water sources.
“This is a gift to conservation for Ecuador and the world,” Lorena Tapia, president of the local council, said on her Twitter account.
The council said fireworks that produce light but no noise would still be permitted.
The Galapagos Islands’ government has already banned single-use plastics.
The archipelago’s 13 main islands, which lie about 1,000 kilometers from Ecuador’s coast, are home to thousands of residents as well as being a tourist destination.
Known for its unique species of animals and plants, the islands are also famous for being the place where Briton Charles Darwin visited and carried out research before he came up with his theory of evolution.