By Michael Evans
Fireworks may be slightly harder to find on Beijing’s streets this Spring Festival, as rising concerns over air pollution and fire safety have deterred prospective buyers and caused more vendors to shut their doors.
Authorities are predicting a 25 percent decline in the number of fireworks vendors in Beijing over the holiday period, with a total of 1,350 expected to set up shop when sales are legally allowed on February 5, according to the city’s official fireworks office.
Misgivings over safety and pollution are to blame for decreasing sales, according to officials. Coming out of last week’s record-breaking smog, may residents are turned off by the prospect of filling the air with more pollutants.
But this year’s expected poor sales are nothing new. The number of fireworks vendors in Beijing has declined continuously over the past three years, according to the Beijing Administration of Work Safety. In 2012, the number of vendors dropped 20 percent from the previous year. Many observers pointed to stricter regulations and new bans on certain popular but dangerous fireworks as contributing to the decline.