A More Eco Bonfire Night?
I think we can all agree that this year has been a year quite like no other and a year of us all doing things differently. In the same vein we expect Bonfire Night might also be a little different this year with large displays and gatherings cancelled.
The obvious alternative would be to enjoy a display in your own back garden but before you make plans, stop and reflect on whether this tradition from the 17th Century should be something we continue into 2020 and beyond.
Lots of traditions and customs which were halted during the pandemic have been called into question on whether they should continue after and this might just be one of them.
It’s not surprising perhaps that with all their dazzling colours and the streams of smoke they leave across the sky that fireworks are in fact harmful to the environment as they release toxins (gunpowder, metal salts and oxidiser) and plastic particles into the air. The heavy metals used to create their colours contaminate our soil and water. In fact, Fireworks introduce 42% more pollutants into the air than are on a normal day. Wildlife are also in danger of ingesting lingering plastic as pieces fall back to the ground. And it’s not just the fireworks that are negatively impacting the environment, bonfires have been known to catch hibernating wildlife such as hedgehogs off guard as they take shelter in the piles of foliage and logs, which are then set alight as part of the tradition.
One of the newest trends and something many of us may be drawn to as firework displays are cancelled is that of sky lanterns. They may look pretty but they are devastating for marine life as plastic and metal framing come back down into our oceans. Looking very similar to jellyfish they are often ingested, or failing that they release millions of micro-plastics into the environment as they break down. Livestock have been killed from eating broken up lanterns which are accidentally picked up by harvesting machinery and put into winter feeds. Currently the release of sky lanterns is not allowed on Newport Council owned land due the dangers posed, which means it is probably not sensible to release them from our own gardens either.
Plastic problem aside, it's not fun for dogs like Diego (below).
Even if it’s just for this year, enjoy some silence & snuggles this bonfire night.