To improve air quality, the bonfire must be extinguished

Tackling air pollution from garden bonfires is just as important as cutting transport emissions, writes Mike Bray.

With so much news coverage about our polluted planet, we are all just about ready and willing for the big air clean up. 

When we get down to it and ready to act, we hit some instant brick walls. We come to realise that many of the actions needed rely on cutting out something we still really need in our lives. 

The internal combustion engine, still transports us around, with alternatives not readily available for everyone. Our house electrics still powered in part by polluting power stations.

Of course, we are not going to sit in the dark, we really do still need to keep the lights on. Many products and services we use daily are created causing air pollution to some degree, but we need them in our normal lives.

We still want to travel on holiday in polluting jets, filling the sky’s daily with unpleasant and harming air pollutants.

So what can be cut out without too much pain and disruption to our daily lives I hear you ask? None of the above are on our immediate list because in general we are all a little protective of what we consider our basic needs, comforts and wants.

Looking further down the chain there is one little offending item that has quite low importance in most of our lives. It annoys us in the summer when we have our windows open. It’s not at all necessary. It’s actually amazing in this day and age that many of us still do it.  It’s the bonfire! 

From burning garden waste, to burning important papers, or just for fun its amazing how many still do it. 

It would make a big difference if everyone stopped. In fact, If millions of people up and down the British Isles stopped burning their rubbish and garden waste it would be a great help. If millions did it world-wide it would be an absolutely amazing clean up.

The strange thing is that some have already dealt with it in their efforts to clean up.

We are just a little bit backward in coming forward.

In Ireland, France and a number of other EU countries it is already illegal to burn your garden rubbish. So why not here?  If we are serious about a clean up the humble bonfire and act of burning rubbish needs to be banned immediately and relegated to history.

Come on politicians, no one needs to burn their rubbish. For immediate results and the maximum impact we need to ditch all the chatter and endless expensive consultations and just do it.

We can all individually play our part if minded, but to make it really happen we need to catch up with the other forward-thinking countries and get it sealed in the law of the land. I no longer suffer smoke in a pub or restaurant, but I can still breathe it when a neighbour decides to light up a bonfire.


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