85% of the British Public is Worried about Climate Change – yet we Assault the Environment with Chemicals and Metals from Fireworks…eh…?

Seems a bit of a contradiction…that we are concerned about the environment, yet we shoot metals, gases and chemicals into the environment. Friends of the Earth recently stated, “A new poll reveals that 85% of us, the British public, are worried about climate change. The urgency and concern rises year-on-year as time slips away to save our planet.”  Sir David Attenborough says we face, “Irreversible damage to the natural world and the collapse of our societies ….It may sound frightening, but the scientific evidence is that if we have not taken dramatic action within the next decade, we could face irreversible damage to the natural world and the collapse of our societies.” On 1 May 2019, the UK Parliament declared a climate emergency, making the UK the first country to do so.

Michael Gell has been in touch with FAB about the impact of fireworks on the environment. Michael has a long and impressive wealth of experience in science and the environment, which you can read more about.Over the years, he has provided expert advice on national environmental pilot programmes and design and operation of greenhouse gas disclosure platforms. In 2009 he was a member of the World Economic Forum Task Force on Low Carbon Economic Prosperity. In his blogs, which warn of the environmental emergency we are in, he says that we are at a key decision time for humankind. We can either carry on how we are and destroy the planet and cause lots of suffering for humans and animals. Or we can radically change the way we live – across all areas of life – and have a chance of saving the one planet we all share. Now is our last chance. 

If you find the reality of the environmental situation we are in disturbing and depressing, the good news is that IF we change, according to Michael, we do have a chance. “The choice being faced is …to choose uninhabitability of the earth, or to mobilise and make a sharp turn by slamming the brakes on greenhouse gas emissions, putting a stop on the ransacking and poisoning of the earth and designing and building the necessary systems (technological, economic, behavioural, social, etc) in a last chance pitch for survival.” 

And for those of you that won’t read further – one way we can do that is by stopping the use of fireworks, whose metals, gunpowder, chemicals and packaging pollute and damage our environment. It’s an easy decision. For everyone else, please read on. It’s important. 

Michael explains that there are different bodies or people that impact change – central government, local government, industries and citizens for example. The good news for us all is that citizens can drive the changes that governments and industries need to make – and already for example, people eating less meat is forcing businesses to produce more plant-based food.  Just look at the supermarkets, how their shelves are filling with the new products. They are being led by citizens.

So we have 10 years to make many of the changes that are necessary. And right here, right now, we could easily remove a pollutant – fireworks – and find more environmentally friendly ways to have fun and celebrate – one for you to think about the next time you are thinking of letting that firework off – at your wedding, party or new year celebration – just consider the impact you are having on the future of our planet. An article in BBC Science Focus says, “Though beautiful, fireworks pollute the atmosphere so may not be the most green choice of entertainment.” 

The article states, “Fireworks propel a cocktail of chemicals into the atmosphere, many of which can harm both people and the environment. The vivid colours in firework displays come from metallic compounds such as barium or aluminium that can have negative impacts on animal and human health.” It goes on to explain that in order to create an explosion, you need a lot of oxygen, so many fireworks contain oxidisers known as perchlorates. These can contaminate rivers, lakes and drinking water. If our rivers and lakes are contaminated, that affects anything living in, dependent on or drinking from the river. Fish, ducks, swans, deer and more. And the water goes downstream and into our oceans, carrying the problem even further.

Michael Gell points out that a DEFRA report acknowledged the impact of fireworks. “Best estimates of emissions of air pollutants from use of fireworks are as follows: Copper 2.8 tonnes (6% of emissions in 2000), Potassium 100 tonnes (9.3% of emissions in 2000), Sodium 5.5 tonnes (0.5% of emissions in 2000), Magnesium 73 tonnes (7.6% of emissions in 2000), Barium 65 tonnes, Strontium 9.9 tonnes, Aluminium 86 tonnes, Titanium 5.3 tonnes, Carbon dioxide 160 tonnes (trivial), Carbon monoxide 120 tonnes (trivial)”. This was over 10 years ago and fireworks have increased exponentially since then. It is worth noting that climate emissions are also associated with the extended lifecycle of fireworks – from manufacturing (often in China), shipping, sales and of course emissions from emergency, health, veterinary and other (e.g. building repair) services required to address the aftermath of their use.

The Scottish government’s Safer Communities Directorate has in October this year, published information on the impact of fireworks – on health, the environment and noise effects: “Short term health effects may include asthma attacks, coughs, fever and severe asthma, and even pneumonia (Hirai et al., 2000). Longer term health effects may also include respiratory and cardiovascular system diseases, and an increased risk of cancer. …High build-up of metal elements through both fine and coarse particulate matter in the body can adversely affect human health.” If it does this to humans – where more time and effort on research is spent, think what it is doing to all the wildlife breathing in the air we pollute for them? And what all of that is doing to plants, water, trees that protect us…

The Directorate says, “There is some evidence from outwith Scotland to suggest that restricting firework use could benefit the environment by reducing pollution from fireworks emissions as well as secondary fires.” Repeat – we are in a climate emergency – and restricting fireworks would benefit the environment by reducing pollution. Got it? They are not good. We can live without them. No brainer.

An ITV article on 5th November 2019 also refers to the toxicity of fireworks. “Bonfires and fireworks send November 5 air pollution levels soaring, study suggests.” It refers to a study where thousands of sensors take readings of particulate matter. “A study in Newcastle and Gateshead found that in 2018, pollution levels were four times higher in the evening of Bonfire Night than they were earlier in the day.” We already have issues with our air quality, and yet the article states, the pollution levels rise to “Eight times the World Health Organisation’s recommended safe limit of 10 micrograms/m3.” 

Do I need to go on? We are in a crucial point in the history of our earth, when every one of us can make a difference by our decisions, behaviours and actions. And for our consciences, we have to. Fireworks pollute the air, the particles release metallic substances and chemicals into the environment, covering our trees, going into our rivers and lakes and into oceans – contaminating the world we live in – that we have 10 years to protect. Isn’t it time to simply remove this pollutant and stop letting off fireworks?  In 2019 Sainsbury’s became the first major supermarket to stop selling fireworks at its 2,300 stores across the UK.  Given that the UK government has declared a climate and ecological emergency, wouldn’t a sensible action be to ban fireworks…

It’s time for we human beings to be drastically more considerate of the environment, stop abusing it and the natural world. To stop behaving like nothing else is impacted by our actions. It’s time to be considerate and ban fireworks! 

The Fireworks Campaign (FAB) is releasing a series of blogs and images on the impact of fireworks. You can find out more and read about the effects of fireworks on war veterans and other PTSD sufferers and please share these with anyone you know, to help spread the awareness of their dreadful impact.

Tragic and senseless loss

From one of our members in Wales…..

So very sad. We lost our loyal and beloved Bella last night. She died because of the  New Years fireworks in our village. She was in the house with my son, TV was on full volume, curtains closed. We knew she hated fireworks, but not enough to sedate her,  so I thought. This time, as soon as she heard the fireworks she first hid behind the TV and then she came out and fell down by my son’s side and was dead.

He phoned me at 12.08 am, I ran home nothing could be done, she had no symptoms of heart problems, she was running in the field at 6.30pm happy as usual.

We are devastated to have lost her in this frightening way. Such a shame and it was all because of fireworks.

Bella was only 5yrs old and was a lifeline for my son who suffers from depression, his best friend.

I am hoping all fireworks will be banned or even if they used ones with less noise, it would help our beloved pets.       … Ann

Beautiful, loyal, trustworthy, fun, happy Bella.  Someones best friend……

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SIGN HERE please to help FAB stop random fireworks. Read our HOME PAGE to see what we are about…

Please report every incidence of fireworks you hear on our FIREWORK LOG. We are collecting data to prove to the government that random fireworks do occur……They insist fireworks are mostly limited to traditional dates already. We know that is not the case.

Please WRITE TO YOUR MP and let them know how you feel.. If you don’t tell them they will continue to deny the problem.

FAB are asking the government to restrict public USE of fireworks to traditional dates. That works out about 10 days a year. So you can still have them in your gardens around Guy Fawkes and New Year, Diwali and Chinese New Year.. There will still be displays and fireworks competitions as there are now, just no random unexpected fireworks to frighten people and animals.

#fabuk

Hull, a shameless waste of money.

A story from one of our members. If you have a story, please send it in to us.

Thank you ,   Julie

So Hull has been named City of Culture 2017 and because of this has 2 barges on the River Humber filled to the brim with fireworks. The ‘show’ starts aptly enough at 20.17 and has over 15,000 fireworks. How a city that has numerous rough sleepers, high unemployment, drug abuse and elderly people struggling to survive thinks that culture starts with fireworks is beyond me. There is nothing cultural about fireworks and I believe the city has missed a trick by going down the same old route of fireworks. They really could have stood out from the normal city of culture recipients and made a difference to the people of Hull by spending the money in other areas. I appreciate that they want/need to bring people to the city, but come January 20th who is going to visit on the back of a long gone firework display. The winners are once again the retailers and the display company Titanium who have been employed. Tellingly I have haven’t had an answer to my request on how much this firework display has cost Hull City Council. Disappointment, anger, and disgust are my uppermost emotions, Hull had a chance to lead the way forward but buried its head into the same old ways of celebrating. Showcasing local talent, looking after the vulnerable and being proud to do so would bring the whole ‘City of Culture’ farce into the 21st century and show the United Kingdom the real Hull, the real people and the true meaning behind being awarded this ‘accolade’. I am hoping that the distance of 10 miles will be enough to not suffer from the display, as I and my Golden Retriever have really had quite enough of fireworks this week already. Just need to add that Hull also had 2 firework shows yesterday to welcome in the New Year, so by my reckoning if there wasn’t another firework sold for the next 6 months – Hull on its own has kept this business going. Those of you who are my friends on FB will have seen the post on my personal page yesterday, I will reiterate it here. How many animals will be injured tonight as they run in fear from fireworks ? Fireworks – the 21st century’s new bloodsport, no boundaries or class required. Just £30 and a visit to a supermarket and you too can destroy lives. Stand up and make your signature count – Just imagine the destruction that 15,000 fireworks will have on the animals in the surrounding area.

SIGN HERE please to help FAB stop random fireworks. Read our HOME PAGE to see what we are about…

Please report every incidence of fireworks you hear on our FIREWORK LOG. We are collecting data to prove to the government that random fireworks do occur……They insist fireworks are mostly limited to traditional dates already. We know that is not the case.

Please WRITE TO YOUR MP and let them know how you feel.. If you don’t tell them they will continue to deny the problem.

FAB are asking the government to restrict public USE of fireworks to traditional dates. That works out about 10 days a year. So you can still have them in your gardens around Guy Fawkes and New Year, Diwali and Chinese New Year.. There will still be displays and fireworks competitions as there are now, just no random unexpected fireworks to frighten people and animals.

#fabuk

You were my best friend….

This is why fireworks should be banned from public sale. Please keep Sharing Shiloh’s legacy and the petition link below before more humans and animals are maimed or killed. The government need to know will not give up.
Us Humans aren’t the only ones to suffer the loss of Shiloh. His best friend of 2 years will also be feeling his loss. Ryan has been turned out with the rest of the herd now and seems to enjoy bossing them about. But who knows what’s going on in his head 😔 he watched his soul mate die in front of his eyes. 😢 He’s not the same as he was that’s for sure, but then again, neither are we 💔
This is Ryan and Shiloh over the 2 years they spent together, I hope you enjoy watching the memories. Music: Queen ‘Your my best friend’ Please continue to sign the petition thank you xxx 👇🏽
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/168663…

Upsetting for children

The Human Touch

It appears that we are all animal lovers on this group and page which is fantastic, but I feel that we are missing the human angle on the distress that fireworks cause. There are many illnesses and conditions made worse by random fireworks. Illness in whatever guise is not as easy to share as the cute cuddly lost dog photos, not as ugly to see as the death and damage done to our animals. There is a huge section of society that huddles behind closed doors during the winter months because of fireworks.

One of our members has written this about her son, he is normally a happy, healthy and top of the class little boy but random fireworks affect him. I will not include the photograph as I don’t want to violate his privacy. Please consider stepping forward to tell your story help us open those doors for those who think they are coping alone.

From MJ
I appreciate that animals suffer horrendously during “firework season”, and I feel it is wrong that any adult can buy fireworks to set off. The surprise element means that animals cannot be prepared i.e. sedated/taken from the area, and the stress caused to animals and their owners is horrendous.
From a personal point of view, our son (9) has very sensitive hearing & even using ear defenders, he can get distressed & upset by random fireworks. It has to be regulated more! Restrict sales to smaller time frames, or to professional displays only!

Story of a panic attack sufferer

So fireworks only affect animals? This is just an excerpt taken from a statement sent to me earlier this year.

27/02/2016 17:30PM ish-19:40PM ish. Constant loud bangs that never stopped. No notice or expectation. Had major panic attack(s), wanted to hurt and kill myself, couldn’t stop hyperventilating or shaking. Still can’t stop. Can’t walk for the disorientation. Head and mind shattered. Feels like I am drowning. Can’t calm down and won’t be able to for a long time now. Will now have a panic attack at every noise and be terrified for weeks every day when the sky darkens to night. Beyond sick of suffering because of other people.

If the person had known to expect fireworks on the 27th February maybe they would not have been so distressed. If you care about how fireworks affect people in your community share this story and make people aware of the impact random fireworks have on people.

A rape survivor’s account

So Fireworks only affect animals ? This lady begs to differ.

Please share her story far and wide on Facebook – The wider community is unaware of how distressing random fireworks are to people. Don’t just use the emojis – share – takes no more time than giving a thumbs up or a teary face. This lady has faced her demons for us – at least give her story the recognition it deserves.
It has been said and mocked by those who love fireworks that victims of rape should get over it, it has nothing to do with fireworks. I beg to differ, anyone who has had a traumatic event in their life can succumb to PTSD. I am talking about ordinary people not military who suffer with COMBAT PTSD. How does it affect me and my life? The noise of fireworks brings back memories, the sound of glass breaking, of thudding steps. Imagine being laid in the safety of your own bed in your own home and hearing that. What followed changed my life and how I looked at myself – but as part of surviving rape I adapted to the new me. What I cannot adapt to is laying in my bed, in my house and hearing fireworks – the memories they bring with them prevent me sleeping, take me back to a time of real fear for my life. I am on high alert and sleep is the enemy – my heart races, I feel sick – the fight or flight within me fights for dominance. Then another firework goes off and the little bit of self-control I have disappears. This goes on for nights, the lack of sleep affects my depression and I spiral further down. I know people tell me oh it’s because of the nights’ drawing in and I let them believe that – it’s easier than explaining to someone who doesn’t know why. When I hear fireworks on 5th November and New Years’ Eve I know what it is, it doesn’t stop the absolute panic, but I am able to reason with myself and take the diazepam. But in the corner of my mind……

Sad story from an former member of the Armed Forces

Another story in our ‘So fireworks only affect animals ?’ series

The men and women who keep us safe, really shouldn’t have to suffer like this. This is only part of a statement sent into us last year and with Remembrance Sunday so close we thought it apt to post and share this story.

I would like to give you an insight as to how Firework Season impacts on the life of myself and my husband who suffers from Complex Combat PTSD and Enduring Personality Change After Catastrophic Reaction after serving ten years in the Armed Forces Please note the term Firework Season as it just seems to get longer and longer with each passing year, then just when you think it’s safe along comes New Years Eve and we start all over again. He lives ‘safely’ in his bubble he has created to not only protect him but to protect us around him. Suddenly his bubble is no longer safe as all around him at any given time are fireworks. It’s not only the sound or the flash. It’s the smell and if close enough the feel of them going off. Firework Season for my husband means there is added anxiety, hyper vigilance and anxiety induced incontinence, less sleep, more nightmares and flashbacks. He doesn’t eat when he anxious, due to the PTSD. For myself there is being a loving wife watching all the afore mentioned and not being able to do a single thing to help him. If we do sleep in the same bed, I get the job of feeling him lying there shaking uncontrollably. But to be honest we rarely do as he worries about lashing out during a nightmare and hitting me.

Clydesdale foal

This is a year old Clydesdale foal, he collapsed in shock and pain after being trapped in a fence during a fireworks display at a local hotel.( The wedding venue started very extensive displays sometimes a few times per week). The horse IS NOT sedated, the vet was an hour away as we live in the country. His hind leg was cut down to the cannon bone, we are still struggling to get his leg healed several weeks later.  I had to share this , as yet again tonight we will experience firework # no need ! There are low decibel fireworks available for such events but the hotel owner isn’t interested