Fireworks might be banned on polluted days

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Fireworks may be banned on seriously polluted days in Beijing, a move experts said is designed to reduce smog during the Lunar New Year holiday.

Fireworks and firecrackers can be legally sold in Beijing from Tuesday at 1,337 certified stores. [File photo] 

The Beijing city government is considering including the ban in its emergency plan for serious air pollution, Kang Jiyong, secretary-general of the Beijing Fireworks Association, told Beijing News.

Cooperation with meteorological authorities is needed so that setting off fireworks can be banned on certain days, he said.

Fireworks and firecrackers can be legally sold in Beijing from Tuesday at 1,337 certified stores. The number of certified fireworks and firecracker stores was 1,429 last year, according to the Beijing Administration of Work Safety.

A possible fireworks ban ahead of Spring Festival, which falls on Feb 10 this year, has been anticipated by many experts since Beijing witnessed the worst period of smog for decades in January.

Compulsory measures will be taken when the pollution in Beijing reaches extremely serious levels, including suspending civil work at construction sites and cutting the use of government vehicles by 30 percent, according to the emergency plan that took effect in December.

Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, said he supported the ban.

"The government can issue a 'firework index' during the Spring Festival holiday every day based on weather conditions, including wind forces, to determine whether to allow setting off fireworks or firecrackers," he said.

Pollutants produced by fireworks can be diminished quickly on windy days, which can cause little pollution, but they will cause or aggravate smog in unfavorable conditions, he said.

About 85 percent of people support banning fireworks when the weather is polluted, according to a poll of more than 1,700 people by popular writer Zheng Yuanjie on Sina Weibo.

"Fireworks are dangerous and can cause a lot of noise, in addition to scattered paper rubbish and air pollution," one netizen commented.

Setting off fireworks has prompted a lot of concern among the public recently, as the worst smog in decades shrouded many parts of China in January and aroused worry over the possible deteriorating air pollution during Spring Festival, traditionally the most important Chinese festival, when people set off fireworks and firecrackers to ward off evil and invite luck.


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