Beijing fireworks, firecracker sales fall

By Yang Jing Source:Global Times Published: 2014-2-6 23:18:02

Beijing saw a 37.7 percent year-on-year decline in fireworks and firecrackers sales during January 24 to Tuesday, ­resulting in less injuries and fires, the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau said on its Weibo account Thursday.

From January 30 (Chinese Lunar New Year's Eve) to Tuesday, fires caused by setting off fireworks and firecrackers in Beijing were 7.4 percent less than for the same period last year, according to the Weibo account, noting no explosions or other serious accidents happened during this year's Spring Festival holidays.

In the same period, there were 108 injuries caused by setting off fireworks and firecrackers in Beijing, down 34.5 percent from last year, the public security bureau said.

In consideration of safety and air quality, Beijing's municipal government called on the public to reduce or refrain from setting off fireworks and firecrackers during the holidays, media reports said.

There were 1,178 fireworks and firecrackers sales stalls in Beijing this year, 11.9 percent less year-on-year, the Beijing Evening News newspaper ­reported on January 27, noting that compared with last year, vendors reduced their stock by 10 to 30 percent.

The sales this year were influenced by public concerns over air pollution, especially in Beijing, which experiences ­serious haze, Zhong Ziqi, chairman of China Fireworks and Firecrackers Association, told the Global Times Thursday.

On January 29, the day ­before Chinese Lunar New Year's Eve, the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau announced on its Weibo account that if the air pollution reached the orange or red alert level, the most serious alert levels, setting off fireworks and firecrackers would be completely banned in the whole city.

The PM2.5 reading in Beijing on Chinese Lunar New Year's Eve at midnight was 246 micrograms per cubic meter, the lowest level for New Year's Eve since 2006, when Beijing lifted the ban on fireworks and firecrackers, news portal reported on January 31.

"I did not buy any fireworks or firecrackers this year," Ding Fei, a 27-year-old Beijing resident, told the Global Times Thursday. "The air in Beijing is horrible enough."

Setting off fireworks and firecrackers are Chinese traditions for Spring Festival, and Chinese people still favor the festival atmosphere created by these products, Zhong said, noting that is why the ban on fireworks and firecrackers was lifted several years ago.

Compared with abandoning the tradition, it is more reasonable to control the setting off of fireworks and firecrackers, and promote environmentally friendly fireworks and firecrackers, Zhong said.

However, the price of environmentally friendly products is twice as high than traditional ones, newspaper Beijing Business Today reported January 30.

The sale and setting off of fireworks and firecrackers in Beijing will end on February 14, the traditional Lantern Festival.

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