Vilnius is choosing sustainable celebrations as an alternative to fireworks

Vilnius is looking forward to more impressive laser and light performances – inspiring, uniting and at the same time causing no harm to the environment and health, like fireworks. The capital’s Council has just adopted a resolution whereby the city committed to create an alternative to fireworks for celebrations and important occasions of the city, especially the New Year.

“We also invite Vilnius residents, guests of the city, companies and organizations of the capital to contribute by giving up dangerous and polluting fireworks during celebrations, choosing other, non-dangerous ways to celebrate special occasions instead. And the City Administration is ready to help to look for these ways together,” the Mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius said invitingly.

Not only more sensitive residents and children, but also birds and pets living in the city experience great stress every year due to the sound of fireworks, especially that on New Year’s Eve, with pets often running away from home.

Damage to the people is also apparent. Research conducted over a decade ago revealed that the impact of fireworks increases the risk of cardiovascular mortality by 125 percent and by 175 percent – during the winter. It has also been observed that the number of patients reporting asthma attacks increases significantly the day after the fireworks. The impact on nature is also a cause for concern. Fireworks are made of heavy metals and various chemicals and poison the air, water and soil for many years to come.

“We all want to live healthily and happily. The results of international research are unequivocal: heavy metals and chemicals contained in fireworks are harmful to nature and our health. Therefore, we aim for changes, hoping that modern technologies will allow us to celebrate this New Year as impressive as always, but without causing significant damage to the environment around us,” Vincas Jurgutis, a member of the Council, commented the resolution.

Last year, Vilnius already celebrated New Year without fireworks given as a gift by the city, offering an impressive installation on the Bell Tower at the Cathedral Square instead, which is already becoming a beautiful tradition. Although, strict lockdown dictated the decision to give up fireworks, opinions that the fireworks should be abandoned for good were voiced right after that.

Despite the changes to come, Vilnius will still support the international festival “Vilnius Fejerija 2021”, which has already been planned for this autumn and which is popular among residents and guests. The resolution will enter into force in December 2021.