As Chinese New Year approaches, people should reconsider the practicality of fireworks to holidays, celebrations


Ryan Zhang

The sounds of fireworks erupt as the sun sets on a special occasion. Families watch as glittering colors blast in the sky as the sky turns dark. It’s a tradition for many to participate in activities involving fireworks during the holidays. From small firecrackers to fireworks that light up the sky, nighttime fills with a BOOM. As the crackles and pops settle down, what remains are thick clouds of smoke and particles. This raises the question: Are fireworks really a necessity in celebrations?

Fireworks serve as a finale to special occasions, though they contribute to the finale of a healthy environment. As we finish up the December holidays and New Year’s celebrations, we approach other festivities like Chinese New Year. Therefore, it is important to realize these celebrations and many others across the world often involve fireworks along with potential harms. 

As someone who has resorted to environmental topics, specifically air pollution, for projects throughout school, I often notice fireworks having an unrecognized impact on the ecosystem compared to other environmental concerns. While I scrolled through numerous articles, magazines and databases looking for interesting facts pertaining to air pollution causes and ways to reduce it, the same information always came up, though none mentioned fireworks.

Fireworks aren’t a commonly brought-up topic in environmentally-focused discussions and are often overlooked by larger, more prominent concerns such as vehicle emissions and plastic remnants. However, they can still be a problem. According to a study by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, fireworks release particles and the particle concentration found during large fireworks displays is similar to the concentration at major air pollution events such as wildfires. Additionally, due to the high particle concentration following the use of fireworks, there is a risk for adverse health effects and people’s existing respiratory and mental diseases may worsen.

Furthermore, as someone who enjoys watching the news daily, I get a glimpse of what goes on in the world. Once in and while, as holidays roll around, I see reports of families grieving as a result of fireworks accidents. According to a report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2020, fireworks-related accidents injured over 15,000 people. Though fireworks come with guidelines and precautions, they are far from the safest activities. They are still explosives with the potential of accident and injury. 

Fireworks have been a tradition for centuries to mark holidays, but they can also be harmful. Originally created and used to scare away evil spirits, fireworks now serve as just a light show–a light show that consumes many resources and negatively impacts those around it. Ultimately, it is important to reconsider the value of the fireworks we use. 


The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Ryan Zhang at [email protected]

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