• Mon. May 20th, 2024

Is Bonfire Night more trouble than its worth?

ByMaisie McGuffie

Nov 12, 2022

Bonfire Night has been a major event ever since Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up Parliament.  However, there has been a shift away from the nice celebrations, with small sparklers and fireworks to a night that causes chaos and issues across the UK.

This year’s firework celebrations saw major disruptions within Edinburgh. Specialist officers had to close roads in Niddrie due to a gang on motorbikes launching fireworks down a street, leading to the police asking residents to stay inside. Fireworks are clearly allowing major disruption within our city. No one should be scared on bonfire night of having a firework thrown at them, and no one has the right to inflict this fear upon another person.

This year Police Scotland received over 400 calls about firework-related incidents. The emergency services are unarguably underfunded. Such incidents are avoidable and ultimately a huge waste on public funds that could be better distributed. In 2018, nearly 2000 people were treated in A & E with injuries related to fireworks. A bed in a hospital is going to cost the NHS more than £300 per night. This is an overwhelming burden on the NHS, especially when the large amount of money spent on fireworks could be used to reduce wait times, trial new medicine, or give the hardworking staff their ever-deserving pay rise. Just on the level of the difficulties that the public service face, both in cost but also the danger that they face on the front line, just shows how bonfire night is far more trouble than it is worth.

I think fireworks should be banned. I don’t understand the hype. You stand in the cold for hours, and the firework shows I have been to in the past, have been massively underwhelming. To add to my dislike of fireworks, my eldest dog has previously had to be medicated due to the amount of fear that the fireworks over bonfire weekend would cause. In recent years fireworks are becoming more frequent, and not just for the traditional bonfire night and to ring in the new year. 

It is not just domestic pets that fireworks can cause terror for. The wildlife particularly can suffer due to the perchlorates that fireworks contain. These can end up in natural water sources, ultimately contaminating them. Fireworks also reduce the air quality, due to the particulate matter. Is 5 minutes of bright colours in the sky worth the damage that it is causing our planet?

Bonfire night wreaks havoc and it is not worth it. The amount of harm that it causes to people, animals and environment. Not to mention the extreme unnecessary burden that it places on our emergency services, begs the question whether a fleeting enjoyment can really be worth all the costs. I don’t think it can be.

Midnight Fireworks, Edinburgh Hogmanay 2010” by Graeme Pow is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

By Maisie McGuffie

Opinion Editor