Don't blow up good health with fireworks

Who doesn't like firework displays? They signify festive events and times of new hopes and dreams. They celebrate past successes and drive away bad luck.

However, the environmental impact of fireworks needs to be told.

Recent evidence shows that firework displays affect water quality, air quality, biological resources and even human health, through particulate matter, toxic gases and chemicals.

Firework smoke contains particulate matter (PM2.5), and residue from metals and chemicals used, including lead, barium, ammonium perchlorate and sulphur, can be as toxic as the haze.

In some parts of the United States, the use of fireworks is highly regulated, and entails close monitoring of water quality and sediments. In India, the government has discouraged the use of fireworks for Diwali, to reduce air pollution.

Soon, Singapore will have a huge firework display over Marina Bay to usher in the New Year.

I hope we can consider other means of celebrating in future, without impacting our air, water and health.

Amy Choong Mei Fun (Dr)