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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Bonfire Night Baddies

I've always wondered whether fireworks were environmentally dodgy, and the Guardian have confirmed that they indeed are.

Every asthmatic knows that the 6th November is really, really bad on the breathing front. And there are good reasons.
Fireworks come in all colours. But they certainly aren't green. The full spectrum of toxic nasties shower down from firework displays all over the country today. Aluminium provides the brilliant whites, antimony sulphide produces the glittering effects, carcinogenic copper compounds produce bright blues, barium nitrate gives off glittering greens but a poisonous smoke that can cause breathing problems and bright red colours are sadly accompanied by strontium which can cause bone disorders. The list of hazards to people, pets and the environment goes on.

But are there any alternatives? In the United States 4 July is the annual big bang in a country which last year got through 97 tonnes of fireworks. After residents near Disneyland started to complain of breathing problems the company invested in research by scientists at Los Alamos national laboratory in New Mexico to replace the chemical accelerants with compressed air. But the fireworks are expensive and unlikely to replace the more popular but more hazardous fireworks filled with percholates that contaminate water.

More recently a pyrotechnic company claims to have developed a more eco-friendly firework using sawdust and rice chaff. But whether this development is little more than a damp squib is unknown.

Then there's the danger posed by bonfires to hedgehogs. The RSPB also warns of siting your beautiful bonfire too close to trees, shrubs or the nest boxes of birds.

Plus, I'm feeling whatever the Guy Fawkes equivalent of 'Bah, humbug' is now, and don't want to be kept awake. Bah firebug.


lily said...

whoa... i didnt know that....
btw, i love fireworks though...
but at the cost of the enviroment??