Declare war on Chinese lanterns

Andy Goff doesn’t like air pollution and he doesn’t like Chinese lanterns.


Fire in Smethwick

Fire in Smethwick


It appears that the serious fire at a recycling plant in Smethwick, which has been polluting the air over the West Midlands since the early hours of today, was ignited by a Chinese lantern.

Not for the first time these elegant, graceful devices – that waft flame aloft and float on the breeze – have caused mayhem and chaos for humans and dealt death to animals.

The Japanese used something similar in World War II, when they sent fire balloons adrift towards the West coast of the USA, killing a few and spreading fear.

In an age when we are all supposed to be addicted to health and safety the fact that these ‘weapons’ are available for general use is astonishing.

I’m not keen to ban things but it’s obvious that these lanterns are not safe to use and provide only fleeting amusement for their users.

I don’t think it would be asking too much for Lantern Lovers to forgo their moments of transient delight in order to save the rest of us from the consequences of their WMDs.

The pollution from the fire in Smethwick – burning plastic is not good to inhale – will be affecting people and wildlife for a long time to come, quite apart from the harm caused to Fire Service personnel while tackling this filthy blaze.

So, come on polticos, get your much loved banning gloves on and clamp down on these bloody lanterns.

 The RSPCA have a petition running “Call for a ban on Chinese lanterns” – you can sign it here

One thought on “Declare war on Chinese lanterns

  1. I think this article does not give a remotely balanced account of the subject. Standard chinese lanterns would be extremely ineffective as weapons because it’s in their nature that they would only very rarely come down while still alight. The flame keeps them up, and if anything breaks then any flame would be out by the time they had fallen several hundred feet. The Japanese devices probably had additional features such as would ignite on landing.
    And it appears this fire may have been due to a HOME-MADE, possibly incompently-made one.
    While it is possible that the lanterns should be banned, the sensible thing do to is to go ahead with the proper review, including possible regulations on design and usage, as at present there are no regs at all. Rather than a crude total ban on what is a wonderful sight (and in the context they have released huge numbers in Thailand and China).

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