Who doesn’t enjoy a fireworks display? They are great fun, but they do a fair bit of damage to the environment. Guy Fawkes (5th November) is regularly the most polluted day of the year in the UK, although to be fair, bonfires must share part of the blame. Those red colours that make you oooah and aaah? They are usually made from strontium, which is a potential carcinogen. From damaging our health to frightening our puppies, it’s safe to say that this is not our most environmentally responsible time of year. Is the toxic cocktail worth the show? We explore the options.
Option 1 – The 'Killjoy' option We could not have them at all. If we must see the sky festively illuminated, we could have laser light shows, which create dazzling displays of colour without launching dangerous chemicals into the air.
Option 2 – The 'Slightly Less Bad' Option We could reduce the impact of the chemicals. If you want to limit the use of barium, for example, skip the green fireworks. One firework company has developed a new type of casing which is biodegradable and is cheaper to produce. These "green" fireworks are more expensive though.
Option 3 – The 'Ignore The Elephant In The Room' Option We could consider the environmental impact of the associated events. For example, we could try and reduce the carbon footprint of the assembled cars that bring the guests.
Option 4 - The 'Sod It' Option Carry on as normal. It’s only a few times a year.