Home > CO2 Emissions > Responsible Bonfires

Responsible Bonfires

By: Helena Stratford - Updated: 22 Apr 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Bonfires Fire Air Pollution Burning

Having a bonfire may seem an innocent enough thing to do and conjures up romantic images of boy scouts, beach barbecues, and Bonfire Night.

But bonfires can also be a potential hazard to your health and to the environment. Read our advice on how to have a responsible bonfire without going up in smoke.

What’s Wrong With Bonfires?

If bonfires are kept small, very occasional, and burning only dry garden waste in the right conditions, there is nothing too wrong with having a bonfire. Indeed, where would be without the experience of toasting marshmallows round an open fire?! Nevertheless, on a much more serious side, heat and combustion can also produce toxins that can provoke pulmonary and coronary conditions.

Air Pollution

Burning waste material, particularly if it is damp or green, can emit harmful pollutants into the air. Tiny suspended particles, called ‘particulates’ are produced which can irritate the airways, get into the lungs, triggering asthma attacks.

If any chemicals or man-made substances are burnt, these can make the air toxic and produce nasty chemical reactions which result in noxious and poisonous fumes. A common mistake for instance, is to burn old furniture which may have been treated with varnish, paint or other chemicals which can react under heat to produce toxic fumes.

Heath Effects

The health effects of bonfire smoke and air pollution and well documented. Those vulnerable to lung conditions such as bronchitis and asthma are particularly at risk as are those less able to combat the effects, such as the very young and the elderly.

Nuisance

Smoke from bonfires is one of the things most complained about to local councils as being a nuisance to people. The ash falls on windowsills and in neighbouring gardens, windows and washing can’t be left open and enjoyment of time spent in the garden can be spoilt. For these reasons, it is important to be considerate of those living in close proximity to your property.

Alternatives To Bonfires

If you have garden waste to get rid of, before having a bonfire, consider alternative ways deal with it.

Composting is the easiest and most practical solution and will also produce useful organic matter for re-using on the garden. If you don’t have much space or need to get rid of large quantities of material, contact your local council. Many offer a chipping service or will collect green waste for municipal recycling and composting schemes. Your local tip will also have a section where you can deposit garden waste.

Being Responsible

If you do wish to have a bonfire, by following a few simple guidelines, you can ensure you act in a responsible way and don’t cause a nuisance to your neighbours.

  • Do not have regular bonfires
  • Before you have a bonfire, notify your neighbours
  • Make certain your waste is burnable (no man-made materials in the pile), dead and dry
  • Check for any wildlife, such as hedgehogs, which could be nesting under the heap before you light it!
  • Choose a day and time when neighbours are not likely to be in their gardens
  • Keep the bonfire safe and contained
  • Do not leave fires unattended or smouldering and extinguish properly

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • JAMES
    Re: Complaining About Smell Pollution
    I ordered the laminate flooring from UK Flooring Direct Limited online and fitted in March 2018.After that i noticed very…
    29 November 2018
  • Lenard
    Re: Complaining About Smell Pollution
    The person that resides in the apartment above my apartment about 2 weeks ago seems to be making something that has caused…
    24 November 2018
  • J M
    Re: Negative Effects of Sky Glow
    Honestly, this is extremely helpful to know especially because so many people in the world don’t pay attention to these things…
    26 October 2018
  • SeaSiderSeth
    Re: Complaining About Smell Pollution
    Hello. I'm the premises manager of a tv company in Clapham and recently Thames Water built 4 or 5 large storm drains all…
    15 October 2018
  • tolu
    Re: Complaining About Smell Pollution
    Hello i have a neighbor who lives behind my daughter and me he have Hogs there and this mail is excruciating it makes you…
    19 September 2018
  • Ben
    Re: Complaining About Smell Pollution
    Hello, we are in a new build semi detached house. We moved in at the same time as our neighbours last November. However over…
    8 September 2018
  • PollutionIssues
    Re: Complaining About Smell Pollution
    Lou - Your Question:What can I do about local farmer spreading putrid slurry/ fertiliser over fields near me? On a warm…
    14 August 2018
  • puppy
    Re: Complaining About Smell Pollution
    There’s a house being built across the field to our house. There is a constant smell of diesel which is making me and my…
    6 August 2018
  • Lou
    Re: Complaining About Smell Pollution
    What can I do about local farmer spreading putrid slurry/ fertiliser over fields near me? On a warm summer’s evening the…
    1 August 2018
  • savita sharma
    Re: Complaining About Smell Pollution
    Hi twice or thrice a week my neighbour do water intake in thire silver that produce horrible smell from his house its…
    27 July 2018