Should fireworks be banned?
Millions of people are planning to attend fireworks displays celebrating Guy Fawkes Night. But given the environmental damage they cause, should fireworks be banned by the government?
05 Nov 2009
Fireworks produce brilliant coloured displays, but they also create a shower of toxic chemicals.
Aluminium produces the bright white colours, while antimony sulphide produces the glittering shimmers. The bright blues are created by copper compounds, while the green colours are produced by barium nitrate. The red colours are manufactured using strontium.
Scientists have linked a number of these with health disorders.
When people living near Disneyland – famed for its nightly fireworks spectaculars – begun complaining about breathing problems, scientists in New Mexico found a way of replacing the chemical accelerants with compressed air. But this is too expensive to be commercially viable.
Opponents claim the displays also cause considerable disruption to wildlife and household pets.
In addition to the environmental problems, the health and safety risks – or at least the bureaucracy associated with them – have caused many organisers to cancel their traditional celebrations. MORE >>>