Seedlings will be for sale alongside fireworks at the annual Search-and-Rescue team fireworks sale this year, to be planted next summer, RÚV reports. The project is intended as an answer for people who want to donate money to the ICE-SAR volunteers but don’t want to buy fireworks. The money raised by selling fireworks is one of the most important fundraising projects of the year for the ICE-SAR teams but increased awareness about airborne particle pollution has turned many off the idea of fireworks.
Jón Svanberg Hjartarson, CEO of Landsbjörg, states that the SAR teams count on the fireworks sale to raise funds. He told Morgunútvarpið radio hosts that every year, there are people who buy fireworks to donate to the Search-and-rescue teams but don’t take the fireworks home. Now, those who want to skip the fireworks can donate to the teams by funding a seedling to be planted in a grove outside Þorlákshöfn next summer. According to mbl.is, the idea came from Rakel Kristinsdóttir, who wrote her bachelor’s thesis on ICE-SAR funding. ICE-SAR also try to source fireworks that are less polluting and points out that a few years ago changes were made to how fireworks are made and the most dangerous chemicals were removed from the process.
Last New Year’s Eve, airborne particle pollution was high. Numerous lung patients seek care at the emergency room and health centres around the new year presenting symptoms related to airborne particle pollution. According to a letter from three experts to the Icelandic Medical Journal, doctors notice more severe symptoms in lung patients in January than in other months. This is despite the fact that most lung patients take care to stay inside around the New Year. The pollution can get so severe that even healthy people experience symptoms in their respiratory systems.