Our director Paul has just got back from Delhi with reports of the horrendous smog there. The air is already heavily polluted due to emissions from traffic and power stations. This is added to by the fireworks that are traditionally set off for Diwali. This got us thinking about the environmental impact of fireworks and Bonfire Night.
Remember chemistry lessons when we got to burn stuff in the Bunsen burner to make pretty colours? This is the stuff in fireworks and it leaves metal particles in the air that are not good to breathe, causing increased records of breathing problems.
These particles eventually fall to earth where they are washed into watercourses and eventually end up in our lakes harming the wildlife that life there.
The bonfire also causes air pollution including particles and dioxins (notably where plastics are present) but also releases carbon dioxide (CO2). It is argued that CO2 from burnt wood does not add to climate change as it is recently sequestered CO2. It is however still CO2 being added to an atmosphere which already has too much and will not be locked away in further tree growth for some time.
Whilst it is common knowledge that our pets do not like the noise of fireworks exploding, this presumably is also the case for other wildlife in the area. We are asked to not build our bonfires until the day they are to be burnt but in many cases this isn’t practical, possibly killing any hedgehogs sleeping underneath. Hedgehogs are really declining in the UK; they need all the help they can get. Fires situated near to trees and hedges can also cause irreparable damage.
What can we do?
We are not saying don’t enjoy Bonfire Night but there are somethings that you can do to minimise the impact.
- Attend a large organised bonfire, a few large ones are better than lots of little ones.
- They are not available yet but there is research being done to make fireworks more environmentally friendly, keep an eye out for them.
- Burn logs and branches not treated wood.
- If possible construct your bonfire on the big day.
- Start your fire with kindling not firelighters or petrol.
- Construct your bonfire away from hedges and trees.
- Don’t burn other waste (e.g. plastics)
- Observe Environment Agency rules
For more information on making events and businesses more environmentally friendly, call Credibly Green on 01746 552423 or email firstname.lastname@example.org