Should disposable barbecues be banned?

As the warmer weather arrives, there’s an environmental problem that is very visible in Stroud’s public green areas: disposable barbecues. They are wasteful of the aluminium metal they are made of. They are often placed on a bench, picnic-table or grassland which is not fire-proof.

After use, they are often not cleared up and left there along with a mess of packaging, food, cans and bottles. And to cap it all, they start fires!

A metal object containing burning charcoal is quite hot enough (heat wave or no heat wave) to ignite wood or grass. So the picnic-table/bench/grassland…. starts to burn !

Nearly all the picnic tables in Stroud have holes burned in them. Last summer serious wildfires were started, such as the one at Lickey Hills Park near Birmingham. London’s fire commissioner has called for a total national ban on them.

Some shops have promised not to sell these items but they are still available in others. Of course, the user is to blame for this irresponsible use. But it is also the fault of the ‘throw-away-single-use’ message in the product itself.

It is possible to have fun in our local natural areas: to have a picnic and clear up after ourselves, and do so without having a fire !

Fred Miller


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