Yesterday evening the Beijing municipal government sent texts to city residents, urging them to ‘set off fewer fireworks or none at all,’ fearing record-breaking PM2.5 levels during this year’s celebrations. Being anti-fireworks is apparently the new way to ‘Go Green’ and the China Daily freaking loves it.
The Daily has published a lovely article claiming that pretty much everyone is morally opposed to using fireworks for this year’s celebrations:
Setting off firecrackers is an important tradition for Chinese people celebrating Spring Festival. But 85.6 percent said they will not buy fireworks during the upcoming festival, according to a survey released by the public opinion center of the Shanghai Statistics Bureau on Jan 28.
Fireworks bans usually fall under our “stupid things the government will do to cut back on pollution other than seriously restructure its coal plants and industrial centers” category, but we may have to take this one more seriously: studies have shown that the 2013 celebrations caused skyrocketing PM2.5 counts in major cities, and there’s reason to suspect that this year’s could be as bad or worse.
The LA Times has run a great feature on China’s growing concern about how fireworks (beloved, awesome) are ruining everyone’s lungs (fairly vital organs). In addition to the lovely Beijing text above, the Times also reports:
Several cities have curtailed the number of days that residents are allowed to use fireworks. Chu Xumin, of the environmental group Green Zhejiang in eastern China, noted that the city of Hangzhou has issued a regulation permitting fireworks on only three days during the holiday, down from an 18-day period in 2013. The city also canceled its autumn fireworks festival. […]
Jia Lin, 26, was shopping at a roadside fireworks stand in central Beijing on Wednesday afternoon. Many of the packages’ labels boasted that they produced “less smoke” — but warnings on the back cautioned that they pollute the environment.
After perusing the selection — packages labeled “Happy Panda,” “America’s #1 Tanks” and a set called “I Love the Diaoyu Islands” — she settled on just a few simple packs of firecrackers.
With no explosives to light off, the New Year crowd will have to find other, cleaner, more inventive ways to celebrate pandas, American militarism, or say “Fuck Japan”.