Why it is time to ban sale of fireworks –and end the big bangs

Fireworks display,  Buckhaven (Pic: George McLuskie)
Fireworks display, Buckhaven (Pic: George McLuskie)

Fireworks displays used to be something very special.

Thrilling, almost magical events that happened just once a year, lit up the skies and enchanted all who saw them.

Not any more.

There isn’t a dance, wedding, live gig, festival or special event which cannot pass without the obligatory “spectacular” fireworks show.

Frankly, once you have seen one 20-minute show, you’ve seen them all.

There really is nothing new that any fireworks show can give us other than activate even bigger rockets which explode with as much noise as they do colour.

The days we all stood in our back gardens waiting on a rocket to woosh out of its milk bottle seem almost twee

Writing your name with a sparkler? How lame.

Staring at a Roman Candle? Yawn.

Watching that Catherine Wheel get stuck mid spin? Can I go indoors now?

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Kids today wouldn’t put down their XBoxes to stand and watch the sort of fireworks shows that were part of our early years.

Everything has to be bigger and louder.

And that is why it is time to call a halt to the sale of fireworks.

In 2018 there is no need whatsoever to make them available to anyone other than the organisers of licenced shows.

The intrusion is too much and the noise deeply distressing to pets and their owners.

As I write this, there are huge explosions left and right of my flat. They started over 90 minutes ago, and who knows when they will end – and I can see almost nothing of the actual shows.

Every year the focus of our message on safety – don’t return to a lit firework, never chuck a banger into the bonfire - but is clear that the bigger picture is about the impact on others well away from the fireworks.

And it isn’t just pets and their owners who clearly suffer the brunt and are genuinely distressed.

The world spins 24/7. There is noise everywhere, making it very difficult for a number of people to function or cope.

As we become more aware, we can take steps to make sure they are included in the events we take for granted. Whether that’s a relaxed performance in a theatre or making sensory backpacks available to enjoy the Edinburgh Fringe, it is about modifying –not stopping – what we do to ensure everyone is included.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Kirkcaldy led the way with the use of silent fireworks – or ones with make little noise – this Christmas?

Bit ironic too given this town is about the only in Fife without an organised fireworks show on November 5 ...

The reality is the lack of screeches, shrill whistles and colossal bangs wouldn’t diminish the show in any way – in fact it’d make it even more special for so many people.

We’d still get the colour, the excitement, and the music that is integral to every show, but those sensitive to extreme noise could go about their lives as normal, or share our enjoyment of the occasion.

The days of being able to go into a shop, buy a few boxes of fireworks off the shelf – some of them containing stuff we could only dream of when we were bairns – are over.

Times have changed, and we need to take action to tackle what is clearly a major problem.