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03 Dec 2021

Safety advice: Don’t light bonfires and stay away from fireworks this Halloween

Safety advice: Don’t light bonfires and stay away from fireworks this Halloween

Longford County Council and An Garda Síochána are appealing to householders and local families not to blaze bonfires and to stay away from fireworks this Halloween, in the interest of safety and for the benefit of the environment.

With Halloween just around the corner, communities nationwide are preparing for the time-old tradition of lighting bonfires to celebrate the occasion. While traditionally wood and straw were used for bonfires there is increasing evidence that people are using Halloween bonfires as an opportunity to dispose of waste illegally.

Gary Brady, Environmental Awareness Officer with Longford County Council said, “As we approach Halloween time, we see everything from tyres and lawnmowers to sofas and gas bottles heaped upon our open spaces, ready for the big night. But before we get together with our children and neighbours to celebrate the tradition, we’re asking you to spare a thought for your health and your children’s health, as well as your local environment where you live and work.”

Mr Brady added that “Providing household waste material for burning in a Halloween bonfire is committing a criminal offence. It is also harmful to the environment as the burning of such waste material contributes to over 50% of all harmful dioxin emissions in Ireland”.

Mr Brady stated that “Nobody likes to be a party pooper or engage in scaremongering, but the fact remains that tyres, in particular, which are commonly used as fuel in bonfires, are one of the most polluting materials when burned. The application of chemicals in the manufacturing process makes tyres a very dangerous product once the heat is applied; they contain many chemicals which produce toxic fumes during combustion, and these are emitted into the air we breathe. They contaminate the land around the fire and the back-gardens over which the smoke passes. We must be very concerned about emissions from bonfires, as they are a major source of pollution.”

Longford Community Garda Sgt Darren Conlon added “I would like to remind people that fireworks are illegal because they are dangerous. Please – parents and children, think of the consequences of your actions. Traders, please be aware of what you are selling and for what reason, given the time of year we are in. Even egging cars can be hugely dangerous – awareness is key.”

He continued, “I also want to especially acknowledge the huge pressure on emergency services and frontline local authority employees who are faced with the fallout from bonfires, accidents and incidents at this time of year. So, this Halloween, stay safe and healthy and avoid bonfires and fireworks if at all possible.”

There are many alternative events being coordinated in communities right around the county and details of these will be shared on Longford County Council’s website and social media platforms over the coming days. A list is currently available on the Halloween Events Guide which is available to view and download under the Events Section on Longford.ie.

Free information fact sheets about burning waste are available from Longford County Council Environment Section by calling 043-3343462 or emailing environment@longfordcoco.ie.

Longford County Council and An Garda Síochána wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable Halloween season and would like to thank everyone for their cooperation.

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