Bonfire concern

Dear Editor,

Burning garden waste produces smoke which emits harmful pollutants most notably particles and dioxins.

Air pollution can have damaging, potentially fatal, health effects and people with existing health problems are especially vulnerable eg. asthmatics, bronchitis sufferers, people with heart conditions, children and the elderly.

Smoke prevents neighbours from enjoying their gardens, opening windows or hanging washing out.

Fires can spread to buildings or fences, scorch trees or plants.

As you can see from the above bonfires are damaging to our environment in many ways and dioxins have been noted to be cancer causing. Many people are good neighbours and, if they have a bonfire, they ensure that they are not a nuisance, only having them infrequently, and this attitude is to be applauded but those who simply do not care should be made aware of the results of their thoughtless actions.

With the Coronavirus around at the moment, maybe even forever, there will be more people susceptible to Asthma, Bronchitis, COPD and general lung maladies and bonfire smoke will only exacerbate these ailments. An Asthma attack is a frightening experience and can include any or all of the following: coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, feeling out of breath, gasping for air and an inability to exhale fully as well as the accompanying fear that the symptoms will not ease this time leading to a fatality.

So bonfire lovers please note, it may be fun to you but you could be killing your friends, family or neighbours by causing long term health issues. I have severe Asthma and COPD and the thoughtless bonfires in my neighbourhood, sometimes more than once a week, means that my breathing is now severely restricted which affects my freedom to enjoy life as I did before the bonfires began.

On a different note I would also like to express my support for Maddison at Creepers Cottage, I grew up in the area and it is such a tranquil spot I cannot think of anywhere more perfect for a care home.

Sue Masters, Andover

Support for carers

Dear Editor,

For too long our nation’s unpaid carers have been forgotten by those in power. This Carers Week, we should all be fighting to change that. The Liberal Democrats are urging the Government to give carers a break by providing immediate emergency funding to local authorities so they can offer every unpaid carer the support services they need to take a weekly break. During the Covid pandemic, millions of people stepped up and are stepping up heroically to look after elderly, disabled and vulnerable people. They are doing a remarkable and important job in very difficult circumstances. They need more support.

A survey by Carers UK found that 81 per cent of carers are spending more time on their caring responsibilities during the pandemic, mainly because the needs of the person they are caring for have increased or because the local care services they rely on have been reduced or closed. But now most carers are simply exhausted. Most have not had a single break since the pandemic started. Many also feel very isolated. I have seen this for myself when out campaigning during the recent local elections.

A combination of lockdowns, shielding requirements and reduced support services have made the pandemic especially tough. The survey by Carers UK found that 64 per cent of carers have not been able to take any breaks from their caring role during the pandemic. 74 per cent said they feel exhausted and worn out as a result of caring during Covid, and 44 per cent said they are reaching breaking point.

With local authority budgets so badly overstretched already, we should all, not just Liberal Democrats, call on the Government to provide immediate funding to make carers breaks possible. Many of us would add that they should be part of a bigger emergency package to fill the funding gap in adult and children’s social care. We should all be standing up for carers and working to build a more caring society as we emerge from this pandemic. Demand better for carers!

Luigi Gregori, Charlton Road, Andover