The government is facing an increased amount of pressure to ban Chinese lanterns. The Spanish government have recently banned them because they pose a fire risk to the surrounding area and can harm local wildlife as well as damaging the environment. Celebrations for Chinese New Year have brought the issue to light and many bodies responsible for protecting the environment have demanded that the government take immediate action.
Spain is not the only other European country to ban the lanterns, which some people have described as ‘fireballs.’ The Marine Conservation Society has stated that they want to see the sale and manufacture of the lanterns banned in the UK. The society claims that as well as posing a risk to animals they increase the chance of fires breaking out and they litter the countryside.
“Many people are unaware of the damage that these lanterns are capable of causing once they’ve disappeared from sight,” states Emma Snowden, who is responsible the litter campaigns at MCS, “they don’t just float up into the sky indefinitely, they land somewhere and this is often on farmland or out at sea. People might think that it’s harmless if they land far out at sea, but often mariners mistakes them for flares and will call the Coast Guard.”
Louise Staples from the National Farmers Union said, “These lanterns can cause a great deal of trouble to farmers and we are glad to see that people are applying pressure on the government to them to be banned. They’re not just a nuisance but they can also cause harm to wildlife.” Initially, the lanterns were not designed to be airborne but were created to hang on poles.