Fireworks - Thrills with Toxic Consequences

The fire danger apparently is nothing to worry about for the go ahead of the Sydney New Year’s firework. What about the additional fine dust pollution that will make the already hazardous air we breathe even more toxic? Are a few minutes of pyrotechnic entertainment really worth needlessly polluting the environment? For the colour effect of fireworks, toxic heavy metals like barium, aluminium, lead, mercury salts, antimony, copper, and strontium can be used in firework compositions. What is your take on this?

Comments

  • +93 votes

    grabs popcorn

    watches fireworks

    • +8 votes

      Goes to SBOBs place to eat his/her popcorn and watch fireworks

    • +3 votes

      ….until popcorn is banned. Toxic carbs. Carbon is in popcorn, carbon in cancer, popcorn is cancer.

      • +2 votes

        Yep. Same logic. No problem with fireworks in controlled/metro areas.

        Different if we're talking fireworks in S/E regional NSW…

  • +44 votes

    What is your take on this?

    Let people have their 10 mins of fun.

    • +37 votes

      Are a few minutes of pyrotechnic entertainment really worth

      Yes.

      needlessly polluting the environment?

      That's a leading question.

      What about the additional fine dust pollution that will make the already hazardous air we breathe even more toxic?

      Toxicology is based on dosage. OP has provided absolutely zilch in the way of evidence to support their fear mongering.

  • +89 votes

    You want to let down the hundreds of thousands of people travelling from overseas who've saved up for a trip of a lifetime to come and see them?

    This brings in millions for the local economy with minimal environmental impact.

    I just don't get the outrage surrounding this.

    • +42 votes

      WHY WON'T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN????

      • +1 vote

        Upvoted because of caps usage. Perfect, you've mastered a unique skill. I can almost visualize you screaming this out with a tear on your face.

      • -1 vote

        Gross.

        Why don't you take a seat over there…

    • +9 votes

      I just don't get the outrage surrounding this.

      That is the way of modern environmentalists, they want to cancel everything, even humanity itself.

      • +5 votes

        Nah, the intention (in general) of modern environmentalists is to avoid humanity cancelling itself.

        That said, I have no idea wtf the deal is with this particular complaint about the Sydney fireworks (or why Melbourne's fireworks apparently get a free pass). Doesn't seem to be any environmental concern, just some arbitrary decision that this is somehow insensitive. Not sure what the threshold is; are we all meant to be cancelling our celebrations, or is there some level of official-ness at which celebrations become insensitive?

      • +1 vote

        No, this is not 'modern environmentatlists'.

        This is people buying into the medias attempt to take the spotlight away from climate change.

    • -21 votes

      The millions is already comes in. I doubt they buy their tickets on the announcement.

      Why are we doing foreigners favour?

      •  

        Because we want the money to keep coming in for future years.

  • +15 votes

    People aren't bothered by the imminent end of human habitation on Earth so asking if they're worried about fireworks seems hopeful.

    • +10 votes

      Thanks Al gore

    • +10 votes

      imminent

      I don't think you're using that word correctly ;)

      • -2 votes

        imminent end of human habitation on Earth

        I think he means:

        sought by environmentalists

    • +20 votes

      The sooner the end, the less we have to listen to socialist watermelon dribble

    • +4 votes

      How soon is imminent? I would like to know so I can spend all my savings before that happens.

      • +4 votes

        Far enough into the future that most people have forgotten your "prediction", at which time you make another doomsday prediction. Repeat.

        • +3 votes

          Actual there is no disaster, as our resident Greens advocate tells us, human habitation will cease, and since humans are causing the climate changes then the climate will change (back). Its just part of the natural cycle.

          Problem is solved…… Naturally. 😀

      • +2 votes

        How soon is imminent? I would like to know so I can spend all my savings before that happens.

        Like super duper totally imminent, dude!

        But if you transfer all your assets to me, I can guarantee you salvation in the afterlife…

        •  

          But if you transfer all your assets to me instead, I can guarantee you salvation in all the afterlifes.

          Don't settle for just one salvation when you can have many!!!

      • +1 vote

        How soon is imminent?

        In a universe of ~4 billion years, the period of recorded history is like one blink after a whole week.
        One blink after 168 hours.

        Viewed this way, it's imminent.

        •  
          • 14 billion.
            I shouldn't type in the darj.
    • +8 votes

      If you own seafront property, I am willing to take it off yours hands at a reasonable rate. Act now before the rising oceans take your home. Don't delay, within 6 months the prices I am offering will be reduced further.

    • +2 votes

      thankfully there is no imminent threat to mankind.

  • +98 votes

    This sort of behaviour is why the general population hate environmentalists and why we'e achieved relatively little in terms of making ourselves more sustainable and environmentally friendly. As someone who genuinely cares about having a more sustainable future, I'm repeatedly more and more frustrated at posers who just like to cause outrage and feel like they're doing something good, but not actually achieving anything.

    Believe me, I think it's great that people care, but let's not act like this is even really much of an issue in the scheme of things.

    • +3 votes

      Spot on.

    • +12 votes

      It was John Barilaro, leader of the NSW National Party, calling for the fireworks to be cancelled. He is the very essence of anti-environmentalist link

      • +5 votes

        He was doing that to score free points with his constituents, he gets to look like he gives a (profanity), and they get to feel superior to the city slickers.

    • +1 vote

      This guy gets it. How about we focus on things that actually matter?

    •  

      Yes!

    •  

      As mentioned in a discussion I was part of regarding climate change: It's good to do something to reduce the negative impacts we have on our environment, just as long as it does not drastically affect economy and practicality. Like a diet, any solution is only achievable if it is sustainable.

  • +9 votes

    One cigarette would probably cause more damage than 10 minutes of fireworks. It's also worth noting that the Sydney Fireworks are actually carbon neutral.

    Sure it costs a lot to put it on, but it also brings a lot of economy to the city especially leading up to the event.

    • -5 votes

      While I totally agree, dont forget the economic argument is two edged. Coal also brings in a lot to our economy, so is that also justifiable based on your point.

      Given that the fireworks have always been let of safely and no fires have every started from this display, I think its the same long straw being drawn.

      Bushfires have always been part of Australia. Climate change hasnt changed that.

      But hey the narrative and sensationalism, is that bushfires are caused by climate change.

      I would accept that climate change affects rainfall and heat, can impact the intensity and inability for the fires to be put out.

      All major bushfires have been extingusihed by rainfall in the past. Fire fighting can stop an early fire, but only rain will stop the major fires.

      • +11 votes

        Coal is the ultimate renewable energy. Dont forget it comes from plants.
        Bigger holes for a better australia

        • +2 votes

          Why don't we use charcoal? We're going to have plenty of that just lying around…

      • +2 votes

        Coal is our most affordable fuel source. It makes perfect sense to use it.

        • +4 votes

          does 'most affordable' include total cost (pollution, associated climate impacts, resulting health costs, tax offsets/rebates) ;)

          yeah, didnt think so :)

          • -8 votes

            @SBOB: We pay our bills every quarter. That is our cost for using coal.

        • +1 vote

          Still wrong, SA has the cheapest power costs due to renewables.

          Their supply charges are enormous due to privatisation.

      • -7 votes

        Coal brings basically nothing to our gdp.
        All mining is 6.9%

        • +10 votes

          Now you are being downright silly.

          To say Coal brings nothing, it’s more than $150 billion a year. It’s around the same as total agriculture contribution to GDP. Yes it’s in the 3% range, and because our economy is diverse, your simple “basically nothing” would apply to almost every individual gdp contribution (iron ore is only a % point higher)

          Almost half the coal we produce is used in steel production, not energy.

          That’s the green simplicity that gets us into a mess.

          • -8 votes

            @RockyRaccoon: Coal is toxic, I'm claiming getting rid of it will not being down our economy.

            • +7 votes

              @deme: Then say that rather than just making uninformed generalisations. Doing that just undermines any credibility to your opinion.

            • +4 votes

              @deme: Do you have jobs for these people?
              https://minerals.org.au/minerals/coal

              The industry employed around 50,000 workers in 2018 with another 120,000 indirect jobs supported by the coal industry.

              •  

                @whooah1979: How many of those are permanent jobs?
                Indirect jobs are like saying because I piss at the traino I support toilet cleaner jobs.

            • +9 votes

              @deme:

              Coal is toxic, I'm claiming getting rid of it will not being down our economy.

              This is the sort of lunatic mentality that lost Labor the last election and has stifled any sort of progress on environmental causes for an entire generation. I hope that you're proud of yourself and that one day you can tell the younger generation about how you screwed them over because you were more concerned with grandstanding and looking like you're a hotshot than actually doing anything productive.

              Yes, coal is not good for the environment. Coal is also going to run out at some point. And of course, coal is extremely important to our economy. Even if we take your own statistic at face value, if mining is indeed 6.9% of the economy, then that's still a HUGE amount.

              How about we all start by acknowledging that coal is a major part of our economy and work towards developing energy sources to replace coal which would generate new jobs, make ourselves a market leader in something, and get people excited for something. Remember the tech revolution? Everyone was excited for computers and how they would revolutionise the way we did things. We need to have that same excitement for new energy technology.

              We need to understand that it's not about "getting rid of coal", it's about developing something better than coal. You can't just be "against coal", you need to actually be for positive change.

              • -1 vote

                @p1 ama: Wat?

                We need to have that same excitement for new energy technology.

                You mean like solar, wind and batteries?

                • +7 votes

                  @deme:

                  You mean like solar, wind and batteries?

                  Solar and wind are both dead-end technologies really. Especially solar. The yields on PV cells are far too low and they're far too expensive to produce making them a highly inefficient replacement for relatively efficient fossil fuels.

                  Around 21% of emissions are actually from transport, so crude oil and its derivatives, not from burning coal. That should be where we first make some changes. We need a much stronger push to move towards electric vehicles, especially for commercial transport (couriers, trucks…etc.). We need to invest in public transport infrastructure, reduce our reliance on roads. We should invest in an efficient rail link between Melbourne and Sydney, which is the most (or second most) popular domestic route in the world to reduce these short plane trips which are extremely polluting per km travelled.

                  Next, we need to look at alternative energy sources such as hydroelectric, tidal, geothermal…etc. We need to also continue our research into carbon capture technology and "clean coal" given that a large part of our wealth comes from the export of coal. We should look towards nuclear energy, with thorium reactors being a prime target for research - it's more efficient and doesn't produce radioactive waste that uranium/plutonium does.

                  My point is that hand-waving and saying "kill coal" does nothing.

                  •  

                    @p1 ama: No need to kill coal, go add a carbon price to https://globalchange.mit.edu/research/research-tools/human-s...

                    Sure countries like Indian and China are not investing big into solar oh wait they are.

                    We have nuclear fusion today, it's called the Sun.

                    Renewables no longer need subsidies to be cheap, go remove the subsidies from coal and then come back

                    • +1 vote

                      @deme: China and India is responsible for 36% of CO2 emissions. It’s >50% if we include the United States.

                      • -1 vote

                        @whooah1979: China and India's emissions are declining. They are investing in solar and battery tech

                    • +15 votes

                      @deme: Sorry, but what you're suggesting will not work. I'm an academic economist who's researched energy markets for much of my career. I used to work at the ACCC/AER and was involved in regulation in Australian energy markets. I've also written papers in this field. I'm not just making this all up.

                      Solar is a difficult technology. Like I said before, if we are serious about solar, we need to address issues relating to yields on PV cells. Even though we've known about solar for ages, it only accounts for 1.3% of the world's energy production right now. The expectation years ago was that solar would reach parity with coal by 2020, it's not even close. That's not to mention that the production of PV cells requires silicon, which is a material in high demand (due to electronics manufacturing) that has to be mined and will eventually run out.

                      We have nuclear fusion today, it's called the Sun.

                      This is a silly point. Solar is not truly renewable because the materials required to build PV cells need to be mined and will not last forever.

                      Renewables no longer need subsidies to be cheap, go remove the subsidies from coal and then come back

                      Unfortunately this statement shows you have no idea what you're talking about. The problem here is not the running cost, but rather, the startup costs. Energy production has very high startup costs, but very low running costs. That's why you don't tend to see much competition in generation.

                      Either way, it's clear that the research is still far behind what we need and we haven't been able to develop the technology we need to move past fossil fuels. Research funding to sustainability and clean energy in Australian universities have been progressively cut and the work is constantly under attack from all sorts of different angles.

                      It's tough to get any sort of change because you have to deal with crazies on two fronts:

                      1) People who don't see that climate change is real and will cause significant issues for much of the world's population and are too short sighted to see that fossil fuels will run out really soon.

                      2) People like you who think they're doing good but don't understand that the problem is not going to be fixed by silly policy tweaks around the edges. I support things like a carbon tax, but it's not going to solve our problems. We need big shifts in how our energy is generated and that needs funding for research and development. The issue is not right now, it's what energy are we going to be using in 5, 10, 50 years…etc.

                      • -1 vote

                        @p1 ama:

                        I've also written papers in this field.

                        Link

                        • +6 votes

                          @deme: I prefer to not tie in the opinions I give here (on a variety of topics, actually) with what I do professionally. But that's neither here nor there, why don't you spend some time replying to my points rather than just mindless "coal is toxic" comments.

                        • +4 votes

                          @deme: Mate are you looking to have a proper intellectual conversation or troll?

                          The product life cycle cost of renewable has yet to be assessed - what happen with an massive pick up in solar and battery, both which has limited life span and we are creating a different problem for the future generation when it comes to disposal

                          Different perspective for thought:

                          https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/05/23...

                          https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/12/23/solar-panel-waste-a-d...

                          Again like I have mentioned in another post - coal fired technology has been around for more than 100 years and the latest technology is much more efficient and 'clean'. It is by far the most reliable, affordable and safest source of energy. What p1 ama is suggesting is what we need - tax the inefficient and divert researching funding into addressing/developing new tech (i.e more progressive action less politically driven agenda)

                          Also the point about coal makes up only 6.9% of economy - the economy works with multiplier effect - when a dollar of profit/wages created in one you would put that $1 into use or to another party or save

                      • +2 votes

                        @p1 ama:

                        That's not to mention that the production of PV cells requires silicon, which is a material in high demand (due to electronics manufacturing) that has to be mined and will eventually run out.

                        Silicon is THE most abundant resource in the earth's crust. If we run out of silicon, we have other problems to worry about.. like, no earth's crust to stand on.

                        This is a silly point. Solar is not truly renewable because the materials required to build PV cells need to be mined and will not last forever.

                        Personally I don't agree with solar as the most effective way to mitigate greenhouse emissions/address climate change.
                        Nor do I buy into the "lithium mines are bad" justification with respect to argument against EVs.
                        A lot of scare mongering these days :|

                        All our current renewable energy production methods are derivatives from solar energy, except for tidal, which is generated from the moon's gravitational pool.
                        Coal (not really "renewable" by definition, since it takes too long for the formation process) are dead plants compressed over a long period of time. The energy captured by plants is done via photosynthesis - capture of solar energy to grow, power of the Sun.
                        Wind energy is generated from wind, which is generated by the Sun.
                        Solar, or photo voltaic cells, is capture of photons emitted by the Sun.

                        If the Sun is the source, and we are always using derivatives of essentially nuclear fusion, a natural nuclear reactor 147.1 million KMs away from us.. we HAVE the technology right now to produce nuclear energy, then why are we not using it?

                        Australia is a geologically stable landmass, we have plenty of space to store the byproducts of a nuclear power plant, it's ecological footprint is the smallest considering windfarms, solar farms, take a huge amount of space for the same amount of energy produced with respect to space consumed.
                        We do have a small nuclear reactor but used for medical research at Lucas Heights
                        What's stopping Australia from building one for energy production?

                        @hank_y

                        what happen with an massive pick up in solar and battery, both which has limited life span and we are creating a different problem for the future generation when it comes to disposal

                        I assume you are talking about lithium batteries.
                        Apart from this carbon footprint label, in my opinion, I believe for a good product to be designed, there should be a product lifecycle development process, for the birth of a product, with plans to allow the decommissioning of a product which will return the product into a raw materials form, otherwise, you just get cheap rubbish from China that ends up in landfill.
                        It doesn't have to be "biodegradable", just the materials need to be able to be fully recycled in some economically viable way.

                        Batteries can be collected as e-waste, or regenerated. Rechargeable batteries are not inherently waste, they just become less efficient as they go through charge/discharge cycles, they CAN be regenerated, but only if returned to manufacturers with the correct knowledge to re-use existing materials.
                        Like how aluminium collection from drinks is carried out.

                      • -1 vote

                        @p1 ama: I'm the prime minister and I believe that deme is correct.

                        Wait, you don't believe me? People lie on the internet you say?

                        Damn.

      •  

        Coal is hardly 2 edged. The reality is it is either our coal or the more dirty coal from other regions. It isn't like not mining coal would mean the buyers would go "shite Australia aint sending us their good stuff anymore, we better spend billions on renewables instead", they will just go to one of the many other countries happy to supply or dig their own.

        • -2 votes

          I find it hard to read your comment are you suggesting we wash our coal in the murray-darling?

          • +3 votes

            @deme: Now you show your complete ignorance, there a various grades of coal, some with higher sulphur so more polluting. It doesnt get “washed” in rivers before export to make it cleaner burning.

            Raid more than just greens political flyers and see that things aren’t just black and white.

            Like your comment we can give up 150000 jobs without affecting our economy. Of course you make anything that suits your narrative sound small if it’s not what you want to hear.

          •  

            @deme: Perhaps if you have no knowledge of the topic you would instead read up on it rather than post a stupid comment?

  • -2 votes

    Fireworks and australian culture go hand in hand back to the never never.
    Its leftist free thinking terrorists to this way of life that should be stopped.

    What about banning the car you drive or flying on aeroplanes?

    If the world was run by people who shared your thoughts we'd go back to the dark ages.

    • -1 vote

      I don't think we should ban fireworks, but this is ridiculous:

      Fireworks and australian culture go hand in hand back to the never never.

      It's not part of Australian culture, almost every country has fireworks of some form. Also, just because something is cultural and/or old doesn't mean it's good. Hey, once upon a time we had slavery and public beheadings for insulting the monarch.

      • +4 votes

        It's not part of Australian culture, almost every country has fireworks of some form.

        So? No one said it was exclusively Australian.

        Going to the beach is part of Australian culture, but we aren't the only culture who does that either.

    •  

      When was fireworks part of our culture?

      • +1 vote

        "Cracker night, mate".

        Well up until they banned it.

        I have so many stories growing up surrounding fireworks and cracker night. All of which would provide support of why fireworks were banned in NSW.

    • +4 votes

      leftist free thinking terrorists

      Wait, you don't think people should be free to think?

      •  

        Just so long as they free think exactly the same thing as them.

    • +1 vote

      https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/risk-is-just-too-high-de...

      Bloody leftist National Party, downright unaustralian is what they are.

  • -3 votes

    I was lucky enough to be at an event directly under the bridge one year. The amount of very thick smoke blowing around me was a little insane. And the chemical smell was overpowering.I can understand the concern.

    • +8 votes

      The amount of very thick smoke blowing around me was a little insane. And the chemical smell was overpowering.

      To be fair, you chose to stand there.

      • +4 votes

        He never said he was forced to be there. He simply said he did it once, and noticed something of concern, so he now shares his experience.

        • +4 votes

          Yes, because it takes a genius to figure out that standing close to a whole bunch of explosives going off is going to smell funny…

          • +1 vote

            @p1 ama: Why do you keep making irrelevant replies? He said it's bad enough to be a concern, so it's obviously more than just smell funny.

            • +4 votes

              @nfr: Because I don't understand the original point. If you're blowing things up, then yes, they will produce a burning smell. I would have thought that's obvious. Why would that be of concern?

              • +2 votes

                @p1 ama: Come on, now you are making it as if he said "Hey you know what? Fireworks produce a burning smell, I'm concerned about this novel phenomenon".

                OP asked about the toxic effects of fireworks, he replied by saying the NYE fireworks smoke and chemical smell are strong so he could understand concern. My personal take is air quality is already poor even without fireworks, so I'm staying at home anyway. One could disagree, with or without explaining why, but it's not helpful to dismiss points he never made in the first place.

                • +3 votes

                  @nfr:

                  Come on, now you are making it as if he said "Hey you know what? Fireworks produce a burning smell, I'm concerned about this novel phenomenon".

                  That's exactly what the reply said, almost word for word.

                  OP asked about the toxic effects of fireworks, he replied by saying the NYE fireworks smoke and chemical smell are strong so he could understand concern.

                  I don't see why the "smoke and chemical smell" would be concerning. If you don't like it, then don't stand in front of the fireworks. You can choose a different spot, view it from a distance, view it on TV, or just sleep through it.

                  Just because you don't find a particular smell pleasant doesn't mean that there is going to be some long-run harmful effects, especially not when it's something that goes on for 15 mins every year.

                  • +2 votes

                    @p1 ama: All I'd say I'm glad you finally got there.

    • +1 vote

      Username checks out.

    •  

      Smells like… Victory.

    • +2 votes

      And I was at the opera house and smelled nothing.

      Compared to the bushfires most of Sydney felt it.

      So these fireworks really are not that bad.

  • +1 vote

    What about the additional fine dust pollution

    It’s small potatoes.