Sainsbury's Bans Fireworks Amid Public Concern For Elderly And Pets – But There's Another Winner

Bonfire night can be "the most polluted night of the year in the UK", says expert.
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Sainsbury’s has announced it will no longer sell fireworks at any of its 2,300 branches. The announcement comes after customers raised concerns for wildlife, pets and elderly people who may find fireworks distressing.

The move has been praised by charities including the Dog’s Trust, but it could also have an impact on the environment.

Dr Gary Fuller, from King’s College London’s environmental research group, previously told HuffPost UK that during still weather, bonfire night “can be the most polluted night of the year in the UK”.

“The colours that you see in the sky and the chemicals that propel the fireworks up into the air and the explosives contain a lot of toxic chemicals,” he explained. “If you remember at school when you did those experiments in chemistry, when you put tiny fragments of metals into a Bunsen burner flame and they made lovely, pretty colours – that’s exactly the same as what’s happening with our fireworks.”

The smoke, Fuller explained, “does dissipate”, but some of the chemicals and tiny chemical fragments fall to the ground, and have been known to make their way into water systems. “Concentrations of particle pollution can be up there in the many hundreds of micrograms per cubic metre, approaching the sorts of concentrations that could be seen in Beijing on a bad day.”

In 2017, India’s supreme court banned the sale of fireworks in Delhi during the upcoming Diwali festival to prevent spikes in toxic air pollution.

Many fireworks also use plastic casing and online forums are full of people sharing images of the plastic waste they’ve found abandoned.

Following Sainsbury’s announcement, some on social media have also called for more supermarkets to implement bans in the UK.

Would you like to see a firework ban? Let us know in the comments below.