The big bang theory should be curbed for safety and air quality

By Ewa Manthey Source:Global Times Published: 2014-1-16 18:03:01

Shanghai fire prevention officials plan to cut the number of authorized outlets that sell fireworks by 400 this year, according to a report in the Xinmin Evening News. All firework outlets in residential buildings will be shut down.

Li Ming, a delegate of the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress, said he plans to submit a proposal this year that would ban the sale of fireworks and prohibit residents from setting them off in parts of the city. In the first few hours of the Chinese New Year in 2013, the air pollution index quintupled because of fireworks.

What do Shanghai expats think? Do they think it's a good idea to reduce the number of fireworks during the Chinese New Year? Have they ever set off fireworks during the Spring Festival?

Sophie Longley, from the UK, student

"I know that fireworks are an integral part of the Spring Festival for many Chinese. But I truly believe that reducing the number of fireworks is a great idea, especially if we take into consideration last month when we experienced one of the most polluted Decembers in history. The Spring Festival celebrations do really bring a burden to the city's worsening air quality.

Another thing is the mess and packaging that is often left on city streets after the celebrations are over.

I also think that the city's older residents would very much appreciate if this year's celebrations weren't as noisy as the previous years. A lot of my neighbors complain about the noise and I know a lot of expats do as well."

Victor Gilbert, from the US, designer

"I think it's a great idea. Like a lot of Shanghai residents I am also worried about the city's worsening air pollution and the number of fireworks that are usually set off during the Chinese New Year's celebrations can't be good for the air.

But I also think that it might be hard to convince the residents not to celebrate with fireworks this year. Setting off fireworks during the Spring Festival has been a long-time tradition, just like it is in the West on December 31.

Another issue to think about is the number of accidents that happen during the celebrations. Every year I read in the news about injuries caused by the improper use of fireworks. In my opinion, that's as good a reason as any to ban the use of fireworks altogether."

Stefan Amsel, from Germany, banker

"There are many reasons why the number of fireworks should be reduced in the city. First of all, setting off fireworks brings about serious environmental issues. Every year it pushes up the air pollution index not only in Shanghai but across other large Chinese cities as well.

Besides air pollution, the traditional celebration for the New Year leaves enormous amounts of trash across China.

Another issue is the safety of the fireworks and the number of accidents that happen around this time every year.

While I understand that setting off fireworks is an important component of Chinese New Year's celebrations, I do believe that introducing some laws that will require the residents to reduce the number of fireworks would be a good idea that could benefit all of the city's residents."

Maggie Chen, from Canada, manager

"I love the tradition of setting up fireworks during the Spring Festival. I love the noise, how people gather outside to celebrate, even the piles of rubbish that are left behind on the streets. I think it's a great custom to celebrate a new year. I've been setting off fireworks every Spring Festival ever since I moved to China. But I do believe that reducing the number of fireworks would be a very good idea especially after last month when the pollution surge hit Shanghai. The pollution is getting worse and I totally understand that the local authorities need to take some extra measures to tackle it, even if it means banning one of the country's oldest traditions."

Posted in: Metro Shanghai

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