Wherever would we be without the invention of fireworks? Nobody in the world ever said. Don’t get me wrong, I love tradition as much as the next person, but according to the rhyme about Guy Fawkes its:
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
See, no mention of fireworks – and especially the ones that seem to rock the foundations of your house from five miles away. I know that many people love this time of year and the oohs and aaahs that watching a good display provokes. And I am not suggesting we ban this, and other firework celebrations, altogether but I do think with just a few simple changes we might be able to have fun and do less damage at the same time, which is why I am backing the Ban The Bang campaign.
Here are my five reasons:
1. Money – every time I see a whizzing flash of colour or more recently feel the bang I think of multiple £5 notes going up in flames. How about instead of individuals buying fireworks to set off at home, we donate that money to charity each year? Think of the good it could do.
2. Pets and wildlife – We used to have a dog called Gem and every year in advance of November 5 we would have to take her to the vets (which she hated) and get her some calming drugs (which she hated taking even more) to try and stop the utter terror she experienced each Bonfire Night. She shook from the first bang and would jump for days afterwards even if you dropped something and it made a noise. But she was one of the lucky ones, the animals and wildlife living outside do not have such luxury.
3. Environment – There is are lot of information about this, it’s not just me with my green hat on trying to use the environment to be a killjoy. Here is one example: “The bright colours and effects in fireworks are produced by a cocktail of chemicals. Fireworks emit light, heat and sound energy along with carbon dioxide and other gases and residues. The exact emissions will depend on the firework, but, as gunpowder is a main component, sulphur compounds are emitted, along with small amounts of particulates, metal oxides and organic compounds (including minute amounts of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxifis and furans). On and around Bonfire Night there is often a noticeable increase in pollution from particulates and dioxins.”
4. Safety – According to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA): “Data collected across Britain in previous years shows that, on average, around 1,000 people visit A&E for treatment of a firework-related injury in the four weeks around Bonfire Night, with half of the injuries being suffered by under-18s.”
5. Anti-social behaviour – We’ve all seen the headlines about people having fireworks pushed through their letter boxes and worse – and then there are the big bangs (have I mentioned them before?) which wake every one up at silly o’clock. While it is a minority of people who would choose to act this way, it is still an issue.
So there you have it. Ban the Bang proposals include only allowing public displays (hopefully the cost of them would come down if more people attended), no longer allow the big bang fireworks and making sure public displays are in sensible places.
What do you think? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, even if you disagree…