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Remember, remember, the 5th of November …

16th November 2011 Posted by

We all know the significance of this bonfire night rhyme from our childhood and the fate that awaited Guy Fawkes. However,  perhaps we should remember something else on bonfire night.

Fireworks on 5th November

I, like thousands of others across the country, attended my local bonfire and firework display in the village where I live earlier this month. The night was organised in support of the local scout group. At 7pm, the scouts duly set the huge bonfire alight, which was created from a mountain of old wood and garden clippings. Proudly at the top of the pile sat the reincarnation of Guy Fawkes, resplendent on his redundant sofa. As the flames developed and finally engulfed the ‘Guy’, the fireworks  finale began with an excellent twenty-minute display of fireworks lighting up the night sky. At the end of the show, the large crowd showed its appreciation by applauding.

To the average attendee this act of burning waste wood and an old sofa and sending hundreds of fireworks into the sky is part of our rich British culture and tradition. But what was missed by the crowd as they left the field was that this display had an environmental impact far wider reaching than they could imagine. I would love to see a way of keeping our traditions alive, but a way that also protects the environment. As the old sofa burnt, it emitted chlorine from its fire treated foam and the hundreds of fireworks exploding above the crowd distributed more dioxins in twenty minutes than a modern energy-from-waste facility would emit in its 25-year life span.

I wonder if these same people would be so appreciative of plans to build a modern energy-from-waste facility in their vicinity, which is controlled and its emissions heavily regulated? I think perhaps I know the answer to this question!

One comment on "Remember, remember, the 5th of November …"

  • There are some amazing facts here, the dioxins especially. I have never been a fan of bonfire night, these great big expensive shows could be better invested into a more needy cause, as well as the envirenmental implications it is just a waste of money. The fact my dog and cat quiver with terror every bonfire evening and new years eve is shocking, we are terrifying animals, throwing good money away and damaging the envirenment.

    Absolutely agree with the comments, lets recycle old sofas and everything else they use on bonfires, and stop getting so obsessed with fireworks.

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