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Sky Lanterns can be a splendid way to enhance a wedding but they also pose certain risks. Though they produce a stunning glow drifting into the night sky there is concern regarding fire hazards, metal wire and waste. Night Sky Lanterns is the first to offer a practical solution. This year they introduced the first 100% bio-degradable Eco Sky Lantern containing no metal parts, as shown at http://www.nightskylanterns.co.uk/eco-lanterns/cat_19.html. The same page claims they will be “be fully Eco Friendly by the end of 2010″.

Fire hazard

Sky Lanterns are typically constructed of rice paper on a bamboo frame, and contain a small candle or fuel cell composed of a waxy flammable material. The flame heats the air inside the lantern, lowering its density and causing the lantern to rise into the air. When the flame expires the lantern floats back to the ground. Some people are concerned there may be a danger of them coming down alight on flammable ground. Since the lantern falls when the flame expires this is not likely. Nonetheless, the design of this new Sky Lantern incorporates flame retardant paper combined with a new ‘attached’ fuel cell.

Threat to livestock

A more important concern is the metal wire holding the fuel cell in place. A Daily Mail article posted athttp://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/ethicallivingblog/2009/jul/31/sky-lanterns details the risks to livestock and wildlife of slow and painful death from ingesting the small metal wire. Most sky lanterns use a metal wire approximately 20 cm long to secure the fuel cell. While the rice paper and bamboo rim can biodegrade in several weeks the metal wire can take months, even years. A spokesman for The National Farmers Union warns of the dangers: “They can be eaten by livestock, which can cause them to choke, or pieces of wire can be gathered up when grass is cut for silage, which means they get into their feed. Pieces of wire can also get entangled in their feet.” The new Eco Lantern replaces the metal wire with a thin rope-like material called ‘Dragon Wool’ eliminating all wire from the lantern. The flame resistant wool is biodegradable and will not cause any harm if ingested.

Pollution

The other major challenge is eliminating the waste left behind when they fall back to earth. They’re going to land somewhere. At the very least they are an eyesore to be cleaned up. Night Sky Lanterns’ wire-free lanterns are a significant step in their becoming “fully Eco Friendly by the end of 2010″. The rice paper, bamboo and Dragon Wool are all natural fibres. And unlike fireworks, which release toxic chemicals, Sky Lanterns do not produce toxic gases.

Common sense

Other potential dangers can be averted with a little common sense. The FAQ page of Night Sky Lanterns’ website lists how to avoid them, such as not launching them in strong winds or within 5 miles of an airfield or airport, and that “Launching a sky lantern in an inappropriate location or manner may cause damage to persons or property which could make you liable for criminal damage and prosecution.” Think before you launch. With an Eco Sky Lantern and a little common sense you can light up the night sky at your wedding.

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This entry was posted on Monday, April 26th, 2010 at 4:23 PM and is filed under General News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.



 

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