There are a few hours to the New Year’s Eve and although many Italian cities have banned fireworks, in many others tonight the barrels will be there. The fireworks of New Year, since fired in large quantities, lead to an increase of the levels of particulates, that is of solid particles and liquid pollutants dispersed in the atmosphere.
The term particulates is commonly used to refer not only to suspended particulates but also to atmospheric dust and fine particles. So in addition to being a danger to adults, the elderly, children and especially animals, the fires are highly polluting, especially in certain weather conditions. Those who care about their health should not underestimate the problem.
On New Year’s Eve, the sky turns into a real open-air chemistry laboratory, with a spike of pm10 closely related to the climate, and although the effect is temporary (due to both the combustion and the composition of the barrels), we finally find ourselves breathing copper, sulfur, lead, aluminum, as well as potassium, strontium and barium.
All these substances can cause problems and diseases, such as chronic bronchitis, asthma and reduced respiratory function. Above all, let us not forget, we already breathe all these substances every day because of traffic, industries, power stations and wood stoves. But according to the Federal Environment Agency UBA, New Year’s fireworks account for about 2% of the total amount of fine dust released in the year.
Beautiful to see, silent and seemingly harmless, Chinese lanterns are considered a valid alternative to New Year’s Eve barrels, but are instead to be avoided as firecrackers, fireworks and other pyrotechnic articles: Once returned to the ground, they can cause important damage to the environment and animals, starting from the fires caused by the flame, if still lit. The metal or bamboo structure can injure or kill wild terrestrial and aquatic animals that ingest it or become entangled in it. What is left of the lantern is also a source of pollution.
It is much better to admire the stars for those who love the environment and those who inhabit it, without resorting to barrels and flying lanterns.
Have you any green idea to celebrate the New Year?
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