Published January 2, 2017
There were a lot fewer fireworks-related injuries this year than even just a few years ago, but pollution from them rose significantly.
Vísir reports that there were only six fireworks-related injuries reported at the emergency room of the Fossvogur hospital this year. None of these injuries were particularly serious, amounting to minor burns or foreign objects needing to be flushed from eyes.
This is way down from where it was ten years ago, when about 40 fireworks-related injuries were reported. The chief doctor at the National Hospital emergency room Jón Magnús Kristjánsson told reporters this decrease is due to increased education, increased use of safety glasses, and that there are fewer children trying to fashion their own, much larger explosives out of fireworks.
While injuries declined, pollution from fireworks skyrocketed. Vísir reports that while last year at half past midnight on New Year’s Day, air pollution was measured at 400 microgrammes per cubic metre, this year it was at about 2,500 microgrammes per cubic metre. Pollution at these levels can cause problems for people with respiratory illnesses.
In fact, RÚV points out that 60 tonnes of fireworks exploded is equivalent to the yearly emissions of 12,000 cars. Meanwhile, some 662 tonnes of fireworks were imported to Iceland this year, putting the level of emissions released into the atmosphere on New Years Eve somewhere on the order of about 130,000 automobiles.