Companies pushing their eco-friendly fireworks for Chinese New Year celebrations this past week sadly saw their high hopes of a slightly less smoggy holiday fizzle and die.
Fireworks have been blamed for contributing dust and sulfur dioxide on top of the already seriously polluted air in China, and while some cities have resorted to banning the festive explosives, most residents refuse to give up the tradition.
“Environmentally friendly fireworks are a good way to resolve the conflict,” said Zhao Yujia, professor of Beijing Institute of Technology, and member of China fireworks and firecrackers standardization and technical committee.
Xinhua reports that the ‘green’ fireworks are made with improved black powder along with other new chemicals, and the larger particles produced after the fireworks explode do not affect airborne particles. Companies claim that the environmentally friendly fireworks cut the discharge of smoggy waste by 40 to 60 percent.
“But the product has not been as popular as we expected,” said Wang Fengyan, vice general manager of the Taiyuan branch of Panda Fireworks Co. Ltd.
According to Wang Sheng, a firework store owner, environmental protection is the priority for people who enjoyed firecrackers and fireworks on New Year. Higher prices are are reason impeding sales of environmental fireworks. The price of one box of environmental fireworks is 600 yuan (100 U.S. dollars), 10 to 15 percent higher than the normal fireworks, Wang added.
During the peak of last year’s holiday celebration, Shanghai’s PM2.5 levels jumped up to 523.
On January 31 this year, the PM2.5 particle count reached hazardous levels around 356, but the numbers are likely to fluctuate as holiday celebrations continue.