Why nearly half-a-million people signed an e-petition to ban fireworks

General view of the fireworks show during the Alexandra Palace Fireworks 2019 on November 2, 2019 in London, England.

Fireworks on November 5 has been a longstanding tradition in the United Kingdom.

More than 300,000 people have signed an e-petition calling for the government to ban the sale of fireworks to the general public.

This is not necessarily calling for a blanket ban on fireworks; rather stricter regulations surrounding who can purchase them. People are calling for fireworks to be limited to organised displays on licensed premises.

MPs have since considered this and rejected calls for a ban on the general sale of fireworks. The government's response said: "The Government takes the matter of fireworks safety seriously. This includes protecting consumers and the public. Laws are in place to control firework availability and use."

But what are the reasons behind these increased calls for banning fireworks? Here are four arguments explaining why the sale of fireworks to the general public should be outlawed.

Fire hazards

Bonfire societies parade through the streets during traditional Bonfire Night celebrations on November 5, 2019 in Lewes, England. The night's events commemorate Guy Fawkes, who planned the...

There are growing concerns surrounding unsupervised fireworks displays. Some people have limited knowledge of fire and hazard safety, despite the warnings on the box, and they endanger themselves and those around them with reckless usage.

In Speke, a child was airlifted to hospital after being hit by a burning trolley, which was part of bonfire night celebrations (via ITV). There is also a worry that fireworks could be used as weapons if they fall into the wrong hands; something that a general sale ban would prevent.

Animals

Animal rights advocates with their pets join in a campaign calling the public not to use firecrackers during the New Year celebration at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in...

Pets, farm-life and wild animals have all been affected by fireworks. Animals are incapable of digesting the unpredictable nature of the consistent loud bangs and the bright lights in the air.

There are numerous examples of this from the recent fireworks. The Metro reports of a case where a dog went blind as a result of the shock. Another dog owner reported the death of a puppy, who had suffered a heart attack after hearing the fireworks (via The Independent). Meanwhile, a healthy rabbit died 12 hours after becoming overly distressed by the fireworks in Cornwall (via The Mail).

Individuals

Veterans are seen wearing poppies on their hats for Remembrance Day prior to the Premier League match between West Ham United and Newcastle United at London Stadium on November 02, 2019 in...

Due to the noisy and bright nature of fireworks, they can trigger detrimental reactions for certain individuals. For example, veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder often find that fireworks provoke their symptoms.

Meanwhile, there are individuals with other cases that are exacerbated by fireworks. Certain strands of autism and anxiety are just two examples of this.

Air pollution

A protestor holds a placard in protest against the alarming levels of pollution in the city and demands the government to take immediate steps to control air pollution on 5 November 2019,...

From an environmental perspective, scientists have warned that fireworks can increase air pollution. With smoke filling the skies, air pollution rises significantly on bonfire night - compared to the day before.

A study by Newcastle University claimed that air pollution was four times higher than the average reading after bonfire night (via The Ecologist).

In India, this issue is particularly pressing and it was made worse after the recent Diwali celebrations. The country plans to become a trailblazer in this field by inventing "green fireworks" (via The Independent) but until that has been produced, the quality of our air continues to decrease.

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