It's 2018! A start of another year for everyone. As we look back at the year that has gone and look forward to the new year, we all celebrate with FIREWORKS!
But don't you know that over recent years, air quality degradation events have been carefully studied. Studies that have been carried out in multiple countries across the world, with the majority in Europe, India, Canada, and China have showed a very high increase in the concentrations of several firework smoke particles in the atmosphere following firework displays with resultant variations in air quality. Most of these studies were carried out during world-renowned celebrations such as the Diwali Festival in India, Yanshui Festival in Taiwan, Montreal International Fireworks competition, Lantern Festival in Beijing, Guy Fawkes Night in the United Kingdom.
This is because fireworks contain carbon and sulfur in order for it to burn, according to an article published by the European Respiratory Society. In addition, during fireworks manufacture, a range of substances are added such as arsenic, manganese, sodium oxalate, aluminum, iron dust powder, potassium perchlorate, strontium nitrate and barium nitrate, which act as stabilizers, oxidizers and added colors.
The burning of fireworks releases a large amount of air pollutants, particularly sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and particulate matter (PM) along with several metal salts, for example aluminum, manganese, and cadmium.
This on its own should make us very careful about fireworks, however a more alarming study led by researchers from the Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC), revelead that the metallic particles within the smoke produced by fireworks can cause serious health issues, especially to people suffering from asthma.
The study showed increased levels of lead, copper, strontium, potassium and magnesium in the air that were caused by the fireworks. And according to Teresa Moreno who is a researcher from the IDAEA (CSIC) "People living in cities already inhale significant amounts of air pollution from car emmisions, cigarettes and chimneys, and the added air pollution caused by fireworks only worsens the situation".
What can we do to protect ourselves?
Moreno compared the fireworks air pollution problem with that of tobacco smoke. She said "The less exposure to the smoke, the fewer negative effects it will have on your health. The best solution to would be to avoid inhaling it."
During Fireworks display, spectators should be take notice of the direction of the smoke from the fireworks and keep their distance.
At home keep the windows and doors closed as much as possible when celebrating outside on New year eve! during the day, keep the house ventilated and the air purified to avoid lingering smoke that entered during the celebration.