Sir, Following almost one and a half years free from explosions, fireworks have returned in such a way as to highlight the need to re-evaluate this as a form of seemingly harmless celebration.
The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns saw a huge reduction in the use of fireworks whether as organised events or by private individual domestic usage.
Presumably this happened in order not to alarm an already alarmed population, as much as to prevent gatherings and minimise the spread of the virus.
We have in recent weeks experienced barrages and explosions of such ferocity, scale and volume that has not before been experienced in peace time.
Despite the many concerns being raised by farmers, animal welfare societies, the emergency services and the general public, fireworks appear to be considered necessary to celebrate weddings, birthdays and parties.
What seems to be forgotten is that fireworks are explosives, and explosives are weapons of war. November 5 is a celebration of a terrorist attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament.
However, leaving politics aside, it is well known that excessively loud noises replicate battle conditions, often triggering PTSD in those already traumatised by war.
The level of stress that these explosions create in people and animals, domestic, agricultural and wild, is also well known - just ask any vet or farmer.
Modern day fireworks create shock waves which can be felt as well as heard over long distances. They emit highly toxic pollutants, adding on a global scale to our already highly polluted atmosphere a cocktail of gasses, and increasing by as much as 40 per cent the amount of pollutants already found in air samples.
Witness the toxic haze which lingers, especially in damp conditions, in the aftermath of such a display, but try not to inhale the fumes.
On top of that, every year, millions of pounds go up in smoke, money that could surely be spent on alternative forms of entertainment, ones that last longer, do not cause injury, distress, pollution and even sometimes death.
Over recent decades, I have considered the cost of firework events in relation to how that money might otherwise have been spent - for example on astronomical equipment, and a small building to house such equipment.
That equipment would reveal the celestial wonder of the night sky, enriching both children and adults’ lives all year round while having no negative impact on people, animals or creating unnecessary acoustic and environmental pollution. Better still, laser light shows or silent fireworks would be a good alternative.
I would therefore urge the various organisations responsible for these events to consider the impact their activities have and to take responsibility in relation to the effects and the trauma which follows for many.
In this week of COP26 in particular, it is evident that a more enlightened way of thinking is required both locally and globally.
By all means let’s enjoy the celebrations, but surely not in such ways that cause distress, suffering and damage to humans, animals and to the environment.
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