Hazards of Fireworks - Celebrate Going Green and Contribute to Saving the Planet

Celebrate Going Green and Contribute to Saving the Planet

By pointing out the major impacts that fireworks have on our environment, this article will hopefully inspire/encourage people to celebrate going green, thus resulting in a healthier environment and cleaner air. Listed below are the major environmental impacts that fireworks have on our environment.

Air and Noise Pollution through Firecrackers
"Say 'No' to Fire crackers and 'Yes' to life!"

For most people lighting of firecrackers is the highlight of any celebration (New Year, Fourth of July, Diwali, Guy Fawkes, weddings, sports ceremonies, and other joyous celebrations). The brighter the sparkles and louder the noise, the greater the thrill. However, in our increasingly populated and polluted cities, the temporary joy of watching fireworks is soon replaced by the intense air pollution caused by their toxins. The poisonous substances used in the firecrackers release toxic gases that are harmful to the health of all living beings. The high level of noise generated by the crackers also causes immense trauma to the ailing, the very young, the very old, birds, animals, and the environment as a whole. Another relevant factor which few realise is that the firecrackers are mostly made by very young children. Since the substances being handled are extremely toxic the mortality rate among these child-labourers is extremely high.

Harmful effects of Chemicals used in crackers 

An analysis of crackers and the harmful effects that each of its chemicals contributes to are listed:

The Chemical and its Impact
Copper - Irritation of respiratory tract
Cadmium - Anemia and damage to kidney
Lead - Affects the nervous system
Magnesium - Its dust and fumes cause metal fume fever
Sodium - Reacts violently with moisture and can attack the skin
Zinc - Leads to vomiting
Nitrate - Could lead to mental impairment
Nitrite - Could lead to a coma Noise

Pollution caused by Fire Crackers

The law bans crackers that make a noise of more than 125 decibels at four metres distance from the point of bursting. Listed below are the hazards posed by excessive noise pollution caused by crackers:
•  Hearing loss, high blood pressure, heart attack and sleeping disturbances.
• Sudden exposure to loud noise could cause temporary deafness or permanent relative deafness.

Excessive Consumerism

An indirect but equally significant impact of fireworks on nature is due to the increased consumption. Advertisements and hoardings scream out to people offerings sales extravaganzas, bargains, and discounts thereby encouraging consumers to buy more and more! How does this increased consumption affect Nature? A point to realize is that all man-made items are made from materials that are sourced from nature. Whether it plastic, metal, paper, or cloth - all these raw materials come directly from nature.

Sources that cannot regenerate - such as fossil fuels and metal ores – are being depleted day by day and will eventually run out. Depletion of non-renewable natural resources is one of the most significant impacts of consumerism. For example, the gold you buy is coming from a gold mine that is not only depleting the gold resources of the earth, but in the process of mining is probably ruining several ecosystems.

Something that most people do not factor in is where do all the things we throw away go finally? Solid waste created by human beings, which is non-biodegradable (does not easily decompose), has to be filled into holes dug up in the ground. These 'landfills' as they are called may exist for centuries without completely getting integrated into the soil. The plastic toys that are thrown away now, may exist in a landfill for several generations.

Five Principles of Nature conservation

To be able to conserve our natural environment it is important to follow the following principles:

1. Reduce the amount of toxic or non-degradable things that cause harm to the environment.
2. Reuse items we have in different forms until we have absolutely no use for them (eg. plastic bags, plastic cups, plates, utensils etc).
3. Recycle items that are no longer functional.
4. Rethink the choices we make when deciding to buy something.
5. Refuse things that we have no need for.

High Energy Consumption

Elaborately planned festivities put a considerably heavy load on electrical energy sources that are already overloaded. The use of electric lights to adorn homes, business establishments, monuments and roads requires a huge amount of electricity. The use of lamps or lanterns is a possible alternative to electric lights - even though it does use oil, the duration of the lamps is shorter and a lot of electrical current/ energy is saved.

Eco sensitive Initiatives to contribute to a greener, purer environment

For traditional celebrations different cultural groups should reinterpret their rituals and traditions to become more sensitive to nature. Going green now will ensure that we foster a healthier, more abundant earth for future generations to benefit from.