As the new year begins, rainbows of explosions erupt across our skies in celebration. But do any of us stop and wonder about the cost this causes to the surrounding environment.

The London 2018 New Year's fireworks cost an incredible £3.25M showing how fundamental this tradition is in our celebrations of the new year. This is a huge increase from 2016's budget of around £2.1M and £1.05M in 2000. Yet, despite its iconic essence in our culture, we rarely hesitate as we listen to the familiar booms and crackles that light up our horizons.

As climate change continues to hold its grasp around our planet, we are becoming more aware of its effects. Australia burns brighter than America on the 4th of July and yet most of us still do nothing except spread the word on social media or at most donate spare change to charity. So I want to find out what effect fireworks have on the environment and if it is an issue that should be questioned more.

Exquisite colours are what make them stand out yet the tiny metal particles that produce the colours cause extreme pollution, especially during big events such as Diwali or New Year's. In fact, across India, the annual Diwali fireworks cause far worse pollution than Beijing on a bad day and are linked to a 30-40% increase in breathing problems.

What is shot up into the sky,  must, of course, fall back down. The fireworks that land on the ground contain residues of unburnt propellants or metals for colour. These are washed away by rain into lakes and rivers and are thought to be linked to thyroid problems.

So although it is unlikely that we will replace fireworks in our celebrations of important events, we must be more aware of their effects and perhaps work towards finding more sustainable adaptations.

Charlotte Brereton