Letters: Are New Year fireworks damaging our health?

Are fireworks bad for your health? One reader thinks so. Picture Ian Georgeson,
Are fireworks bad for your health? One reader thinks so. Picture Ian Georgeson,
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It is astonishing that organisers of the Hogmanay fireworks should boast that ‘not a single silent firework’ was fired during four different displays.

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No doubt that was a response to the call by one Edinburgh councillor for silent fireworks because of the frightening effect the noise has on household pets, wildlife and persons of a nervous disposition.

Three miles away indoors we could clearly hear the explosions, which made it seem that we were in a war zone. Such loud explosions can also vibrate buildings and cause instability.

But what about the pollution that letting off 2.6 tonnes of fireworks causes? These include the toxic metal particles that give them their colours and other noxious pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide and microscopic soot particles, the worst of which are PM2.5.

The latter penetrate deep into the lungs and cause serious health problems. Fireworks displays can lead to a two to fourfold upsurge in these tiny particles. Due to the smog they cause, many Chinese cities have banned fireworks from urban areas.

What is Edinburgh’s environmental department’s attitude to this pollution (noise and air quality) and when will the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency take the matter seriously?

It would be ironic if we celebrate New Year by damaging people’s health.

Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh