to think Chinese Lanterns should be banned

(161 Posts)
Bimbledorf Mon 01-Jul-13 10:10:28


As beautiful as they are, Chinese Lanterns are the cause of many fires every year; today they are the cause of the above... Why are we still allowed to use them?

TrinityRhino Mon 01-Jul-13 10:12:31

I dont think you are allowed to use them anymore

I still have some though and will be lighting one again on the 24th aug

SoupDragon Mon 01-Jul-13 10:13:04

That's a fire as a paper and plastics recycling plant with (I don't think) no mention of lanterns confused

But basically, people don't think beyond the "oooh, pretty!" aspect.

Burmobasher Mon 01-Jul-13 10:13:09

As pretty as they look, they are unnecessary and a danger to wildlife

youmeatsix Mon 01-Jul-13 10:13:52

i thought they were banned after causing the deaths of cows, (eating the remains of them) i might be wrong and dreamt that confused

Otherworld Mon 01-Jul-13 10:14:21

I didn't see any mention of Chinese lanterns in the link?

Kiriwawa Mon 01-Jul-13 10:14:40

I agree that they're awful and I wish they were banned but how do you know that they are responsible for that awful fire? confused

squeakytoy Mon 01-Jul-13 10:14:45

I have read that twice now and still cant see any mention of chinese lanterns in the article.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 01-Jul-13 10:15:03

What does the link have to do with it? confused

But yes, they're really dangerous - you can get ones that claim they burn out safely, but this is obviously not true (you can't control them once you've let them go).

Bimbledorf Mon 01-Jul-13 10:15:38

SoupDragon The fire chief from west mids has just been on the news saying cctv footage shows a lantern dropping on one of the plastic bales and in their early fire investigations it appears that it was the cause. Sorry would have helped to say that in my OP!

ClangerOnaComeDown Mon 01-Jul-13 10:16:28

They are so dangerous, last year some people released them at a campsite I was staying on. One set fire to a tent, it was lucky the tent was empty as those things burn fast.

Bimbledorf Mon 01-Jul-13 10:18:22
SoupDragon Mon 01-Jul-13 10:19:00

They are really dangerous. Lots of organisations calling for a ban: rspca link

Kiriwawa Mon 01-Jul-13 10:22:57

Ah right! Well I hope this is the end of them then - bloody awful things.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 01-Jul-13 10:24:40

Crikey. That is really scary.

The thing is ... do people honestly not know they're dangerous any more? They've been trendy for about 5 years I'd say, and I think by this time most people have heard they might be dangerous - they're just being selfish.

I know someone who insisted on having them for her wedding, in the countryside, without bothering to let the farmers around know about it. When challenged on it she said they were 'the safe kind'.

There isn't a bloody safe kind! hmm

Kiriwawa Mon 01-Jul-13 10:27:58

My friend gave me one for my birthday and said she thought it would be ok as it's eco-friendly and I live on the coast. Like I can somehow guarantee it will be blown out to sea and dissolve harmlessly into the water confused

ClangerOnaComeDown Mon 01-Jul-13 10:28:46

Malenky I bet she meant the bio degradable lanterns. I think they use a different sort of material inside which isn't so harmful to wildlife. Still bloody dangerous.

Scholes34 Mon 01-Jul-13 10:29:07

Two years ago at the campsite I was staying at people were letting them off - close to tents and a thatched cottage. There's now a sign at the campsite saying they're banned. So yes, it appears people do need to be told. Common sense appears not to come into it.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 01-Jul-13 10:30:58

clanger - yeah, I know she did. We talked about it. She was burying her head in the sand about the fact that they are on fire and therefore can set things on fire. (irritated bolding due to her, not you!)

MsGee Mon 01-Jul-13 10:35:07

If you are near an airport or the coast, you are supposed to alert the airport or coastguard.

I can't believe that people still light them, but then there is no ban, so people might assume that they are ok. The Civil Aviation Authority has released guidelines but I would imagine that most of the public aren't aware of their guidance.

It's not just the fire or animals eating them. Birds get tangled in them

They should be banned. YANBU

nextphase Mon 01-Jul-13 10:44:56

They should be banned. YANBU

GobblersKnob Mon 01-Jul-13 10:52:10

We had people setting them off at our campsite last year, very scary, flying fire and nylon homes do not mix.

RawCoconutMacaroon Mon 01-Jul-13 10:58:26

Yanbu, I couldn't believe it week or 2 ago when the news was showing the worlds largest release of Chinese lanterns (cant remember where, possibly Thailand?), thousands of them, is happy tones with no mention of the dangers.

Bimbledorf Mon 01-Jul-13 10:59:30

I can't believe that people still light them, but then there is no ban, so people might assume that they are ok.

That's exactly what I think MsGee because regardless of all the warnings that are out there for all the dangerous potential consequences, as they are not banned outright it is easy to assume that "well they cant be that bad, let's go for it."

TarkaTheOtter Mon 01-Jul-13 10:59:58

One landed on a tent at a festival I was at this year.

Eyesunderarock Mon 01-Jul-13 11:01:21

It's in the first paragraph of the article hmm

'A huge fire in the West Midlands – which has resulted in nine firefighters being treated for injuries and a smoke plume reaching 6,000 feet – was caused by a Chinese lantern, the fire service said.'

Tee2072 Mon 01-Jul-13 11:03:46

It's also in the sub-headline, Eyes.

I have never understood why they are allowed. They go up. They are on fire. They have to come down somewhere...

PrettyKitty1986 Mon 01-Jul-13 11:05:44

'Blaze involving 50,000 tonnes of paper and plastic at recycling plant was caused by Chinese lantern, fire service says'

Not sure what people are reading?!? This quote is in the article the op posted, clearly mentioning Chinese lanterns!

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 01-Jul-13 11:06:24

It's been updated. Look at the time on the last update and look at the time on the OP!

Syrupent Mon 01-Jul-13 11:07:19

It's time they were banned. A small child in our area suffered facial burns from one a year or two back. He looked up to watch as they took off and molten wax fell onto his face. sad

CloudsAndTrees Mon 01-Jul-13 11:07:29

Agree they should be banned.

I think the majority of people that use them nowadays are aware of the dangers, but selfishly choose to use them anyway because they look pretty and they like the mystical idea of them floating away carrying some special message.

Eyesunderarock Mon 01-Jul-13 11:08:47

That makes more sense. smile

OP must have known more about the origin then, to post that link before it had been stated to be CL induced.
Yes they should be banned.

Bimbledorf Mon 01-Jul-13 11:09:49

They have updated the article since I posted - it didn't say it when I posted it to be fair, I heard it on the BBC news in the background and was reading the Guardian at the same time so that's why I linked. smile

LastTangoInDevonshire Mon 01-Jul-13 11:09:52

I don't care what your 'special anniversary' is - you shouldn't be lighting them.

I think they should be banned too, just far too dangerous.

ninilegsintheair Mon 01-Jul-13 11:11:24

Yanbu. Theyre dangerous for all the reasons listed by previous posters. And they look naff. I think the reason people still have them at weddings is mostly due to the 'but its our special day' bollocks.

DalekInAFestiveJumper Mon 01-Jul-13 11:13:39

I was at a wedding last year where they had the things. This was less than six months after our whole neighborhood had to be evacuated because of a massive wildfire, and we were under a burn ban at the time. I was horrified.

That said, I do have a box of the things. I put little LED tea lights in them and hang them from the trees for special occasions.

Bimbledorf Mon 01-Jul-13 11:21:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ChasingDogs Mon 01-Jul-13 11:21:44

They're quite sad really. I came across one in a field while walking the dog, with all these messages to a dead friend/relative written on it. I'm sure it looked very pretty and mystical while it was floating off into the night sky, but the reality is that it ends up as trampled rubbish somewhere.

MrsDeVere Mon 01-Jul-13 11:22:02

I bought some 7 years ago to let off on the first anniversary of DD's death.

I let one off and it alarmed me so much I binned the rest.

It was huge and the wind took it all over the place.

I don't agree they are 'naff'. They are a very beautiful when let off at a memory day BUT it does seem crazy to set fire to a piece of tar in a paper balloon and let it fly off without any control

I think people assume they are safe because they are so widely used. Not just by individuals but by organisations like Hospices (or they were)

KitchenDiscoDancer Mon 01-Jul-13 11:23:42

One landed in our garden, burnt a patch of grass and then the dog got hold of it. Ridiculous things to be set off, in the countryside and in towns (I love in London). Think it came from a local hotel which hosts loads of weddings......

bleedingheart Mon 01-Jul-13 11:24:27


This fire in Smethwick is horrendous (although the cause is not yet proven it does seem as though it is the case). The pollution and cost to the fire fighters dealing with it! Awful.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 01-Jul-13 11:25:09

Totally agree. They are dangerous to buildings, livestock and wildlife. They cause wildfires. Ban the damned things.
I was at a wedding once. They let them off at the reception. Apart from more than one person nearly getting burned, one landed in an open top convertible in the car park! Seriously not funny!

KitchenDiscoDancer Mon 01-Jul-13 11:26:13

Sorry l live in London (not love - well only sometimes ;)) oh yes and the one we found had loads of messages to the happy couple Piers and Jasmine........

Greydog Mon 01-Jul-13 11:27:18

Agree - should be banned, dangerous and stupid

lydiajones Mon 01-Jul-13 11:34:08

YANBU. We got some the other year and one of them flew off sideways instead of up and started dripping boiling hot wax over the garden. My husband had to run after it and pull it down or it would have dripped over all my neighbours gardens and would have burnt anyone under it!! Never again.

znaika Mon 01-Jul-13 11:43:38

YANBU they caused a car crash near me a month ago. There were hundreds of them landing at once after a high school graduation and started raining down on cars in themiddle of the city.

SoupDragon Mon 01-Jul-13 11:47:14

I think the reason people still have them at weddings is mostly due to the 'but its our special day' bollocks.

Well, 9 firefighters were injured because of this particular "special day". If the cause was indeed one of these lanterns, I hope the people who let off lanterns that night think it was worth it.

Weegiemum Mon 01-Jul-13 11:50:03

I don't understand why it's allowed - isn't letting things fly off like that just basic littering? Same as balloon releases - horribly dangerous to wildlife and they don't decompose either.

Norman Price even let one off on Fireman Sam today.
It set fire to a tree in the forest.
But he's a little shite anyway.

Manchesterhistorygirl Mon 01-Jul-13 12:50:25

They have caused several hay barn fires too, they're bloody dangerous and should be banned.

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 01-Jul-13 12:53:52

They need banning in the form they are in now.

Some clever engineer somewhere must be able to invent a safe version.

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 01-Jul-13 12:54:13

That bloody Norman price angry

I watched the kids over the road set some off for their mum who had died. I think they are beautiful but also dangerous. Sitting on the fence on this one because whilst I think the dangers mean they shoudl be banned i'm not going to condemn anybody who's found comfort in a loss from them.

Ilanthe Mon 01-Jul-13 13:08:58

My DH has just phoned to tell me about this - he has been petitioning for concrete rather than plastic bases for dangerous things at work for this very reason. He'll be getting them now.

exexpat Mon 01-Jul-13 13:14:46

Chinese lanterns and balloon releases should be banned. People have suggested both to me as ways for my DCs to mark their father's birthday or the day he died (DH died nearly 7 years ago) but there is no way I would ever do that. There are ways to remember people that do not involve endangering lives, buildings, wildlife and so on.

RSPCA on Chinese lanterns

Don't let go campaign on balloon releases by Marine Conservation Society

Today is not the first time a Chinese lantern has set fire to a waste/recycling plant

Startail Mon 01-Jul-13 13:21:21

The fashion for Chinese lanterns is not helped by the paranoia over fire works.

Yes fire works are noisy, and in the wrong hands dangerous, but they are not designed to keep burning.

Chinese lanterns are like randomly dropping a few sheets of paper and a lit firelighter round the countryside.

SoupDragon Mon 01-Jul-13 13:46:54

i'm not going to condemn anybody who's found comfort in a loss from them.

The thing is, one person's comfort could, in this case, have resulted in 9 injured firefighters and £££ of damage. Is that a fair exchange?

Obviously there is no knowing why this particular lantern was released but the principle is the same IMO.

Euclase Mon 01-Jul-13 13:51:12

They are dangerous. My horse found one in his field and stepped on it, the wire the became entangled around his hoof and caused very deep cuts to his leg.

Thankfully I found him early in the morning enough to stop it doing more damage.

Fucking awful things they are. Should be banned.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 01-Jul-13 13:56:59

Well said, soup.

SoupDragon Mon 01-Jul-13 14:00:14

Even the risk of wire is kind of a red herring as there are wire free versions sold with this fact plastered across the packaging as if it is the only thing wrong with the original versions.

I agree they look beautiful and I agree they can offer comfort and a way to remember someone lost.
I do not think these two things cancel out the risks and negative points though.

Weegiemum Mon 01-Jul-13 14:04:19

Norman Price. Possibly the child in most need of a social services referral.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 01-Jul-13 14:13:10

Yes fire works are noisy, and in the wrong hands dangerous, but they are not designed to keep burning.
Tell that to the owners of the restaurant that burned down near me on bonfire night when I was younger!
But anyway. That's beside the by.

I agree with Soupy. Comforting they maybe, but you can't comfort yourself at the expense of others property, their lives and the lives of their animals. That's just selfish.
How about one of those battery powered tea lights inside a bio degradable helium balloon, if you really need to release something? Or a white dove?

Like I said on the other thread - these sky lanterns are incredibly dangerous, the old Chinese lanterns (the ones attached to a ribbon) are far better though harder to locate these days with these sky lanterns being fashionable.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 01-Jul-13 14:41:17

Here Shocking pictures! shock

HesterShaw Mon 01-Jul-13 14:48:20

Chinese Lanterns are an abomination and are simply legal littering, the same as balloon releases. People seem to have a mental block about them. They float out over the sea and caused marine wildlife to suffer, as well as land animals. They cause death and destruction and should be illegal.

HesterShaw Mon 01-Jul-13 14:50:00

And I can't imagine there is anyone who would want to be remembered by causing damage and suffering to animals and people. If you want to remember someone, plant a tree or a flowerbed.

Helium is running out so we shouldn't really be using it in balloons either. It is better saved for medical use

Bimbledorf Mon 01-Jul-13 14:53:53

Is it? That's an interesting fact RubberBullets

MadeOfStarDust Mon 01-Jul-13 15:00:15

We were accused of "ruining wedding day memories" by a family at the nearby hotel when we claimed for about £1200 repairs to our conservatory caused by their "negligent" flying of these lanterns -

they had not even informed the local airport - 500m away - and the hotel had warned them that they were not to be flown there!

The waxy stuff drip-stained the uPVC all the way down from the peak it caught on down to the ground... luckily it was not burning too well and was easily extinguished.

RiffyWammal Mon 01-Jul-13 15:11:07

They are an absolute menace and should be banned (as should fireworks in my opinion). DH saw the massive plume of smoke from the blaze today on his way to work, and we live 11 miles away!

People who live in thatched cottages must live in constant fear of these things all year round - at least fireworks are mostly just November and New Year!

exexpat Mon 01-Jul-13 15:11:52

Yes, the worldwide helium shortage is yet another good reason for not doing balloon releases.

FeckOffCup Mon 01-Jul-13 15:14:39

I have a couple of these in the cupboard I was given as a gift I must dig them out and bin them, I didn't realise they were so destructive although as a previous poster said it's flying fire so common sense should say they aren't a good idea. We did have them on our wedding day but they were a surprise from the PIL who had recently been to Thailand and seen them there and it would have been pretty churlish to refuse them on the day but I hope the PILs see the news coverage about the Midlands fire and don't buy any more in future.

Lovesabadboy Mon 01-Jul-13 15:19:31

We set one of these off on a New Year's Eve a few years ago (before the dangers were widely known and accepted).
It floated up but not up far enough, hit our neighbours roof and rolled down into their back garden - we could see the flames flickering on their new fence. [shocked]
We were horrified and hammered on the door. Luckily they were awake and went out and extinguished it, but the consequences could have been hideous.

I would never, ever set one off again and agree that, yes, they should be banned.

My husband and daughters did a charity walk for the local hospice this weekend and, their normal procedure of letting off balloons for lost loved ones did not take place this year due to helium supplies becoming depleted.

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Mon 01-Jul-13 15:33:49

YANBU they are clearly dangerous and this fire could have killed people.

Its all very well saying "oh but I'm setting one off in memory of someone who died" but what happens if the lantern(s) in question causes say, a house or something to catch fire and kills someone? a life lost because you chose to release a flying ball of fire randomly into the air. doesnt seem worth it to me.

Buzzardbird Mon 01-Jul-13 15:36:00

That is a grand total of 2 recycling plants we have currently on fire in this area. The Kidderminster one is still burning 3 weeks later.
It appears there is a two fold problem that needs sorting?

BackforGood Mon 01-Jul-13 15:37:45

Nor is it just the danger to the firefighters at the blaze - if they are all at that blaze, then any engine called to another fire today (or for the next few days at the very least) is going to have to be travelling from a lot further afield.

JakeBullet Mon 01-Jul-13 15:42:54

YANBU, I was sharing an RSPCA ad for a while last year which showed a beautiful bar owl dead due to becoming entangled in one of these things. I will never buy or use them and I make sure to tell others that I won't and why I won't.

FreedomOfTheTess Mon 01-Jul-13 15:43:00

YANBU - they should be banned.

Why should firefighters have to risk their lives due to the selfishness of others?

Gobbolinothewitchscat Mon 01-Jul-13 15:43:42

My parents' neighbour's fence was turned into a towering inferno by one of these things. There's a patch of woodland separating their houses and there was a real fear that the whole lot would go up. If it had, my patent's house would have burned down as some of the trees overhand their roof

Their a total bloody menace and I genuinely don't see how the need to commemorate a loved one or celebrate a soecial event by letting one of these things off trumps others people's and animals' right to safety. That cannot be reasonable.

moisturiser Mon 01-Jul-13 16:34:57

They are so unsafe, I can't believe they don't cause more fires, to be honest. I totally understand why people want to let them off, they're so stunning and a very moving thing to watch, but it just isn't worth it. Even the 'eco-friendly' ones do massive damage to wildlife.

MrsDeVere Mon 01-Jul-13 16:46:33

I think the self righteousness can stop now. Anyone who has said they let one off for a loved one or has seen them let off for loved ones has agreed they should be banned.

We are not doing it again so try not to make us feel shit on top of everything else hey?

HesterShaw Mon 01-Jul-13 16:48:43

This is not a pop at anyone who has ever lost someone MrsDV. And concern for the environment does not automatically translate as "self righteousness".

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 01-Jul-13 16:52:14

I am really sorry about people who've let them off for loved ones. I didn't know prior to this thread that was a tradition but I can understand why it could seem like a nice idea.

I don't think most people intended their comments to be pointed, though.

I did notice that the second or third post on this thread was about them being bad, but the poster was going to do it anyway, and that is the attitude I've heard a lot. It's not really ok.

MrsDeVere Mon 01-Jul-13 17:03:55

No I understand that but each comment about why someone did is followed by 'yes well that is all very well but'

We get it. We don't do it anymore.

The comments are unnecessary. People are not thinking particularly logically on the anniversary of a significant loss. The release of these things have been sanctioned by large organisations who should have known better.

I don't think caring about the environment is self righteous but labouring the point about memorial releases is going to come across that way.

'if you must release something'...really?

SoupDragon Mon 01-Jul-13 17:03:58

Anyone who has said they let one off for a loved one or has seen them let off for loved ones has agreed they should be banned

No they haven't. But that is irrelevant really. I was not being self righteous nor was I trying to make anyone who had let them off in memory of a loved one feel shit.

Oblomov Mon 01-Jul-13 17:05:45

I am surprised they haven't been banned before.

MrsDeVere Mon 01-Jul-13 17:06:35

You might also want to consider that my dead child's carbon footprint is going to be considerably less than anyone's on this thread, however eco friendly they are.

I think they SHOULD be banned. I think they ARE dangerous.

But dismissing the poster who said she wouldn't condemn a child for taking comfort from one and then going on about sodding balloons ffs.

Its so insensitive.

MrsDeVere Mon 01-Jul-13 17:08:21

One person said she would do it anyway.

Considering her recent history a bit more sensitivity wouldn't go amiss.

I doubt very much that bereaved people are the biggest culprits.
Weddings and festivals and proms and organised events are far more likely to cause damage and make an impact on the environment.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 01-Jul-13 17:11:46

MrsDeV - I'm really sorry.

But I was talking about weddings etc. That was what I was trying to explain in my post. I assumed most of us were.

I didn't know this was a tradition for memorializing loved ones, and I have already apologized and said I honestly don't believe most people intended their comments to be pointed.

I'll stop posting now - but I truly am sorry, and I truly did mean my post saying I didn't think people were talking about that to mean I really, didn't think people meant that.

I think most of us would agree that a fire of this magnitude was bound to happen eventually and I think they should be banned from sale BUT I don't think it's healthy to vilify people who have used them without realising the potential implications. I think it's better to educate than to condemn.

MrsDeVere Mon 01-Jul-13 17:19:42

You dont need to aplogise or stop posting malenky. This is an important discussion to have. smile

I absolutely agree that they should be banned. For any reason, even for memorials.

But the discussion needs to take into account the feelings of those who have lost loved ones, particularly if its going to include balloons.

There really is very little we can do for our DCs once they are gone.

It is very hard not having a way of marking those important dates.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 01-Jul-13 17:26:25

Thanks for saying that, MrsDeV.

All I meant to say was, my first assumption looking at the thread title was 'oh, that'll be about twits letting them off at weddings'.

Now I do know that some brides would feel a bit upset and got-at, if they did this all unawares. I would be myself. And I do think about 5 years ago it wasn't so well known they were dangerous, and they do put on the packaging that they're the 'safer' ones so you could be forgiven for thinking that means something - as someone said further upthread.

I didn't think about memorials. I'm sorry, I get that this seems insensitive if to you that's the primary association you have for the lanterns.

But I thought soup simply had a point - and it looked to me like exactly the same point you made. It'd be a nice idea, but it's not practical so it's not ok.

I really didn't think 'here's how to bash bereved people', honestly.

Is it possible still to get those little floating things that you can set off to float out into a lake, or are they bad too? They might have a similar symbolism.

HesterShaw Mon 01-Jul-13 17:35:10

I think some middle ground can be reached. I've seen discussions online about this issue and they have been upsetting for both sides. Someone mentions that Chinese lanterns/balloon releases are very harmful for the environment and for wildlife, and someone else reacts defensively (understandably) because they want to remember their loved one in that way.

The MCS has some interesting information on the subject.

McNewPants2013 Mon 01-Jul-13 17:38:14

This is the first time i have heard chinese laterns are dangerous and after this i will not be realising any more.

I normally do it on the anniversary of my uncles and my grandfathers death, but now it don't see why other people should be put at risk to help me cope with an emotionally hard day.

MrsDeVere Mon 01-Jul-13 17:38:40

Anything is going to have an impact on the environment.

The symbolism of letting something fly free, upwards is very strong but it is going to involve something that does something to something somewhere.

Like everything else we do its a matter of weighing up the options.

Like people who use disposable nappies and wipes, eat meat, drive a car...anything really.

These lanterns have got out of hand. They are being let off all over the place for all kinds of reasons. I think now is a good time to act, before they become too entrenched in our culture.

Right now they are something we are fairly used to but they are still quite new. An outright ban is the best way to go.

I think releasing the statistics would be a start. I doubt if that many people even know about the damage they do.

Sorry but that is where the self righteous bit can creep in 'they know but they just do it anyway'.

I don't think 'they' do. I don't think 'they' really think much about it TBH. There has never been a campaign and they are sold on every high street.

People are going to assume they are ok.

Damnautocorrect Mon 01-Jul-13 17:40:28

I spied some going up on Saturday, I don't think everyone knows the message yet.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 01-Jul-13 17:40:31

Fair point, I didn't realize people didn't know.

To be honest, I am thinking of people with whom I've had the 'oh, did you know they might be a bit dangerous' conversation and the reply has been 'don't be so silly, it's our special day'. I would feel very differently if that were someone who'd been bereaved. Because it is fundamentally different.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 01-Jul-13 17:41:01

But then ... if people don't know, shouldn't we be carrying on bumping this thread, not stopping?

MrsDeVere Mon 01-Jul-13 17:45:57

I don't want the thread to stop confused

I think its very unlikely that someone who has lost someone close would want to put anyone else's child or partner etc in danger.

My experience would suggest the total opposite.

But when something is so common, so easy to get hold of, seemingly given the go ahead by large charities and organisations its not surprising that people assume they are safe.

Of course when you think about it they can't be safe can they?

But when I refused to let anymore off for DD lots of people told me it was fine, not to worry, they were safe etc.

Unless something is done on a large scale this is going to keep happening and its pointless to just blame it on selfishness.

Of course some people are selfish idiots but I really do not believe the majority are.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 01-Jul-13 17:49:08

I'm sure no-one wants to put someone else's child or partner in danger.

expatinscotland Mon 01-Jul-13 18:00:00

I lit one about 4 years ago and it scared me so much I binned the rest.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Mon 01-Jul-13 18:01:50

would it have the same symbolism if they were tethered with a string so they can't float away? if not I suppose a small fire into which you put a paper with your message to lost one on and watched that burn a float into the air might work? or just floating a message away on a flower on a river or sea?

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 01-Jul-13 18:04:12

It ought to be possible to design tiny ones so that they can be tethered, and the fuel burns out at about the same time they reach the highest point on the string.

If they were banned maybe there'd be a motivation for the makers to make something safer instead.

MrsDeVere Mon 01-Jul-13 18:07:28

You can get them in pound shops now!
They are everywhere.

specialsubject Mon 01-Jul-13 18:08:27

light memorial candles by all means. Ones that stay on the windowsill where you put them, or wherever.

littering as an act of remembrance is beyond me.

IWillDoItInAMinute Mon 01-Jul-13 18:08:52

YANBU when my DM died, my closest friend suggested I light a Chinese lantern to remember her confused
I thought the broken heart, tear stained face and huge hole in my life was enough...or is it just me who doesn't 'get it'?

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 01-Jul-13 18:10:50

People vary how they want to grieve, though, iwill.

EduCated Mon 01-Jul-13 18:14:08

I do think they are beautiful and they're so readily available I think it would be reasonably easy to jump to the conclusion that they must be fine.

However they are clearly not safe and something needs to be done about that. It's a shame it's taken such a large scale accident to really raise the issue, but at least now, hopefully, something will be done.

Tigerbomb Mon 01-Jul-13 18:14:44

I lit one on NY eve for my DXH. Unfortunately it clipped a tree a few seconds after it went up and came down on a neighbours shed roof 3 gardens up, setting it on fire.

Never again

MrsDeVere Mon 01-Jul-13 18:17:19

Yes people grieve differently ad clearly there are lots of people who do 'get it' Iwill

special clearly doesn't though as her post illustrates.

Boils down the most difficult moments of someone's life to 'littering'

Thats very nice. Maybe it should be the campaign's motto.

AnnaBegins Mon 01-Jul-13 18:28:32

Some neighbours brought these to my 21st birthday party and despite me telling them they were dangerous and that I didn't want them lit they lit them anyway. At my party! I was too embarrassed and shy to kick up more of a fuss and it still annoys me. No one else wanted to listen to me either, just oohed and ahhed at the pretty fire balls hmm

Weegiemum Mon 01-Jul-13 18:33:57

I fell out with a (then) local pregnancy loss charity about 15 years ago after my 2nd mc (before any of my living dc were born). I objected to a balloon release - apparently it meant I "didnt care".

alistron1 Mon 01-Jul-13 18:36:29

It's a shame that they are lethal 'cos they are very beautiful. And I had immense comedy value from a little fleet of them once when DP thought it was an alien invasion.

The old Chinese lanterns on a ribbon are just as pretty and last a lot longer than the dangerous Sky lanterns.

McNewPants2013 Mon 01-Jul-13 18:43:45

*Sky Lanterns will fly for up to 20 minutes and can reach up to 1 mile high
Keep a fire extinguisher or bucket of water nearby.*

unless you have superhuman power and can fly, how are you suppose to have a fire extinguisher or bucket of water nearby when the latern is 1 mile high.

The wrappers from amaretti biscuits burn beautifully but do so within about ten seconds and eighteen inches of ignition, floating ethereally above the table. Candles are also good for meditation.

If one stops to think, of course sending a burning thing to fly off into the air is dangerous. But one typically doesn't think - the mental image is of that heart-rending scene in Tangled, not dead wildlife.

Let's keep talking and objecting to all lantern and balloon releases that are suggested to us.

Oh Lord! <<sigh>>

The problem with the lanterns is you can't guard against the consequences and yes I agree those consequences can be awful. That's a reason to ban these for the future, not attack people who've done this in the past. MrsDV is absolutely right - this thread is heaving with self righteous indignation and there will be people reading it who don't have the confidence to post. People who have taken comfort from doing this at awful times in their lives. I don't think anybody here really wants to make those people feel crap do they?
Everybody will grieve differently, things that comfort some will leave others cold but what everybody's grief has in common is the shattering impact on lives and the love that's left behind. I think those two things should always be respected and when you reduce a person's actions to 'dangerous littering' then you aren't respecting that at all. Now that's a crappy thing to do!

MrsMeg Mon 01-Jul-13 19:00:20

I agree that they are very beautiful but the potential for damage and loss of life is just too high I think.

I know it's unrelated but 19 firefighters died today in Arizona due to wildfires, we don't yet know the cause of course but it could do easily have been a lantern.

MrsMeg Mon 01-Jul-13 19:02:46

On a different note - I heard recently that the world is running out of Helium, so balloon releases will be ruled out soon I think?

Methe Mon 01-Jul-13 19:05:47

I drove smethwick this morning on my way to work and the plume was HUGE!

Lanterns did ought to be banned and I say that as someone who has set them off before.. In memorial.. Before I realised how dangerous they are.

If you learn something is dangerous you have to stop doing it.. Whatever it signifies.

Kiriwawa Mon 01-Jul-13 19:13:02

I didn't know how awful they were until they nearly burned down my sister's stable with her horses inside.

Which is why I smiled and thanked my friend who gave me one rather than telling her she is a terrible and selfish person.

YoungBritishPissArtist Mon 01-Jul-13 19:14:42

OK, I feel really thick. I thought Chinese lanterns were these. blush

Now I've read this thread I won't use them and will warn others.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 01-Jul-13 19:15:44

I think it's a generic term for lots of kinds of paper lantern supported by wire? Those are what I would think of as chinese lantern shades too.

McNewPants2013 Mon 01-Jul-13 19:16:14

If you learn something is dangerous you have to stop doing it.. Whatever it signifies.

I agree with this statement.

inabeautifulplace Mon 01-Jul-13 19:44:16

Surely I'm not the only person thinking "a recycling plant with thousands of tonnes of flammable material on site. How the actual fuck can they not have better preventative measures in place"

Actually, it turns out I'm not. The fire chief has called a meeting with the plant operators, since this is the 15th incident this year! Wonder what caused the other 14.

My friends' house burnt to the ground in less than an hour when one caught in the thatch. They got the children out but that was it. If someone hadn't been up extra packing they would all have been asleep.

They are so pretty but blow bubbles, plant a rose or a tree or a butterfly garden.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Mon 01-Jul-13 21:31:17

We have friends who actually considered getting rid of their thatched roof and having tiles instead as they live in fear of lanterns setting them and their three young children on fire.

Perhaps there should be another thread suggesting other meaningful ways of remembering a loved one, or celebrating a major event.

EduCated Mon 01-Jul-13 21:33:34

Agree with NorthernLurker, as ever.

Sallyingforth Mon 01-Jul-13 21:35:42

The government response is pathetic.

"The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it was raising awareness of the risks of sky lanterns and looking to see what could be done to improve fire safety."

What good will 'raising awareness' do once they are lit and released?

These dangerous devices should be banned. If Germany and other countries can do it so can we.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 01-Jul-13 22:10:52

Yes definitely agree, ban them. CAn't believe they aren't banned already.

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Mon 01-Jul-13 22:29:27

I'm surprised at some of the comments here about not getting it and saying that littering as an act of remembrance is beyond them. It doesn't take much brain power to realise why setting these lanterns free into the sky gives people comfort. It might not give the people who made those comments comfort, but surely they aren't so stupid that they can't understand that people grieve in different ways and take comfort in different things. Its really not that hard to get.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Mon 01-Jul-13 22:39:58

AmyFarrah yes, people do take comfort in different ways, but surely they wouldn't want to endanger anyone else in the process if they realised the dangers? The Chinese lanterns haven't been around for that long, or so easily available, in Britain. Presumably people managed without them before. I don't mean that at all unkindly, but there are other ways of celebrating or remembering.

LunaticFringe well, you've just suggested another way yourself! It sounds lovely and just as meaningful. I heard of a child who had a twin brother who died at birth. He always went to the grave on their birthday and shouted Happy Birthday at his brother. Another family I know have a quiet meal together and listen to music which was played at the funeral of one of the children.

This thread is going to get too contentious. <bows out gracefully>

Ban the bloody things.

edam Mon 01-Jul-13 22:49:38

A couple of years ago I had to look into this for work. At that time, the fire service wouldn't say definitively that they were unsafe, nor the HSE, nor government statisticians - there were no records of them causing serious accidents. I was a bit sceptical because releasing a naked flame into the sky to come down heaven knows where seemed inherently dangerous... now it turns out it was indeed dangerous and has caused fires.

People who have released them to commemorate loved ones were clearly acting out of the best motives, but now we can see it really is dangerous. So we should stop doing it. And balloon releases too.

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Mon 01-Jul-13 22:49:44

middle, I'm sure that is true. I was just pointing out to the couple of ignorant people on here that its not hard to "get" why people use them to help them with their grief. For example, I think they should be banned as they are dangerous, but I still "get" why people want to use them. It would take a stupid person not to understand why people use them for comfort was my point.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RawCoconutMacaroon Tue 02-Jul-13 07:53:14

All that burning plastic at the recycling plant (on the news again now), no mention of the dioxins etc produced by burning plastic in open fires! Incredibly toxic, I wonder what sort of measures the plant had in place to reduce the risk of fire spreading (fire walls etc), as if seems to have burnt right through the whole site which looks like its acres in size, really huge.

I bet locals are nodding and saying I told you so!

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Tue 02-Jul-13 08:34:46

Amy Farrah and Lunatic Fringe thank you for your replies smile

Interesting to hear on the radio this morning that Spain have banned lanterns.

<bows out again>

Eyesunderarock Tue 02-Jul-13 08:39:50

This sort of stuff doesn't help with raising awareness of the dangers either:

Decades ago, we remembered the death of a fellow student by floating little paper boats with birthday candles on the river Cherwell. It helped a lot of us, I can see the appeal.

LePetitPrince Tue 02-Jul-13 08:56:30

I was at a child's party (no joke) when these were released and my DH and I spent the night wondering how they were extinguished. We wondered if they go out at a certain altitude.. This was in a built-up area too.

Planting a rose bush gets my vote too but possibly not as obvious as a memorial. Condolences to all who are suffering bereavement.

Where does helium come from then?

Off to Google.

Paper boats on a quiet river sounds beautiful. The main advantage there is that if they go wrong they'll quickly put themselves out.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Latara Tue 02-Jul-13 10:29:40

YANBU. One floated down in front of my Mum's car when she was driving and nearly made her crash.

Also people set light to them on the beach near me and the clifftop caught fire (the gorse is very flammable).

Eyesunderarock Tue 02-Jul-13 10:32:14

Choose the right rose and it will flower from late May until October with a lovely scent. They also have individual names, come in almost every colour and last for years.
So roses make sense to me.

BlessedDespair Tue 02-Jul-13 10:32:27

I don't think they should be banned but I do think that the solar powered ones should be the only ones available so you couldn't send them flying off to land in my horses field smile

How would/do solar powered ones work?

kotinka Tue 02-Jul-13 10:35:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I've got a rose called remember me in my garden for my grandad. It's the same type as he has at the crem.

I've had a quick glance to see how else balloons can be lifted without heat or helium. The safest gas seems to be ammonia (has been used to lift weather balloons) but I dont know how practical it would be for inflating childrens balloons and once it absorbs moisture apparently the result can be quite corrosive (not a chemist!)

MadeOfStarDust Tue 02-Jul-13 11:45:40

The solar powered ones are ones you hang up in a tree or in a garden - they do not float off.....

aha!! that makes a lot of sense!!!

littlecrystal Wed 15-Jan-14 14:23:34

Lifting a zombie thread but just wanted to say honestly I did not know about the danger of sky lanterns before reading this thread. I just thought they will finish burning up high in the sky and dissapear to ash.
I never knew that it falls to the ground still burning and can set a fire.

Thanks for pointing out before I bought it for use.

MakingEveryDayCount Wed 15-Jan-14 15:20:52

I know it's a zombie thread too before anyone points it out, but just wanted to say I've never seen the appeal of them either as they've always struck me as being highly dangerous.
The first time I had heard of them was when a friend set one off for her wedding, and even though it was the first time I'd known about then I; was still confused as to on what planet the person who was on who originally dreamt the idea up!
Setting a candle alight and sending it off to drift in a paper lantern?! Yes, can't see that going wrong! hmm (sarcastic)
You've no control over them once you've let go, and no idea where they'll come down.
Moronic in my opinion.

blahblahblah2014 Wed 15-Jan-14 15:35:18

So what should i do with teh pack of 5 I just bought from the pound shop.......mmmmmmm

TheBigJessie Wed 15-Jan-14 15:55:12

blahblah Recycle, bin, use as evidence of how their sale needs to be regulated in a letter to your MP?

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