They may look pretty floating up in the sky but as the old saying goes ‘what goes up, must come down’ and this definitely applies to Chinese sky lanterns. These miniature hot air balloons are gaining in popularity in the city and many couples are choosing to light them to celebrate their weddings.
I like to think that they have been taken in by their novelty appeal and didn’t know that worldwide:
- they have caused many fires and damage to buildings
- they are often mistaken for flares
- they should not be sent into the air within a 10km radius of an airport as they could be sucked into a planes engine
- livestock have been injured after eating the wire frames
- many countries have banned them including Thailand (due to the large number of forest fires they have caused), Vietnam, Germany, Australia, parts of New Zealand, Austria, Malta, Lithuania, parts of China and Malaysia and there is a also a call for them to be banned in the UK where they have caused fires and injured cattle.
I stayed at a flat in Bantry Bay over the festive season and witnessed first hand how dangerous these can be. Some people lit them on the beach opposite where I was staying and instead of flying out to sea they headed inland. When we saw the first lantern heading our way there was a wild scramble to close all the windows. Fortunately it rose up and sailed over the block of flats. Unfortunately, whoever was lighting them on the beach wasn’t concerned that they were heading for the mountain and not out to sea and kept on lighting them. With all the warnings in the press about the dangers of throwing stompies out of car windows and now having seen these lanterns close up, I would think they pose a far greater threat to the vegetation and buildings and should be banned.
Do you agree with me?