I hope the local people who lit paper lanterns at New Year enjoyed looking at them as much as I have for the past three months …..
Yes, I think I’m dangerously close to turning into a grumpy Druid. Actually I’m a bit torn over this, as those lanterns are rather pretty, look like fun, and I love the idea of using them to send wishes. However this one I photographed at the weekend is ‘bio-degradable’, and has been sat there through snow and rain for three months now. It is supposed to turn to mush when wet according to the manufacturer, but I reckon it’s going to take a while to disappear. The ones with wire inserts, of which there are plenty draped around and about, (including over trees on The Edge) are going to leave traces for years.
One online retailer has 15 safety instructions for releasing lanterns but I don’t think many people round here worried about reading them, certainly not these four:
*Check the wind direction prior to releasing the lanterns – obstacles such as buildings and trees and cables should not be in the direct flight path of the lantern and must be at least 30 meters away.
*Do not release lanterns within a five mile radius of an operational airport or landing strip as the lanterns could interfere with low flying aircraft.
( Manchester Airport picked up 60 from the runway this New Year! )
*Do not release lanterns within two miles of a major road or motorway as the lanterns could come to rest in the path of a vehicle.
*Do not release the lanterns anywhere near dry crops or woodland or any other flammable areas. Do not release the lantern anywhere where it may cause damage or be a nuisance.
Apart from the danger for planes, animals and flammable objects, you have to ask yourself whether littering the place with the remains of paper lanterns is any different to chucking your McDonald wrappers and beer cans out of the car window.