From Iceland — Fireworks: "Never Environmentally Friendly Nor Harmless", Environment Agency Says

Fireworks: “Never Environmentally Friendly Nor Harmless”, Environment Agency Says

Published December 23, 2019

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Pollution from fireworks on New Year’s Eve between 2018 and 2019 was up from the previous New Year’s, RÚV reports, and the pollutants from them are never good for anyone’s health, the Environment Agency of Iceland would like to remind people.

As reported, people with respiratory illnesses are advised to stay indoors on New Year’s Eve, not least of all because fireworks do contain harmful materials such as lead, copper, and chrome, amongst other chemicals. A new report from the Agency details just how polluting they can be.

Þorsteinn Jóhannsson, an air quality expect at the Agency, told reporters that the high point of pollution is from noon on New Year’s Eve until noon on New Year’s Day, with a peak in the first hour after midnight.

The biggest deciding factors in how polluting it gets are the volume of fireworks detonated, naturally, but also the weather—high winds will disperse pollutants, but it bears mentioning that the heavy metals especially do find their way down to earth, and possibly into groundwater.

This being the case—and barring an outright ban on fireworks altogether, which is highly unlikely to happen—people are encouraged to limit their use of fireworks as much as they can. Proceeds from fireworks sales typically go to the Rescue Squad, and those who want to support them without buying fireworks can still do so directly, any time of year.

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