Once again, China is trying to put a damper on everyone’s Chinese New Year celebrations with the Beijing city government instructing local officials to serve as a model for the people by not setting off any outdoor fireworks this year.
Traditionally, to celebrate the first day of the Lunar New Year, Chinese families go out into the streets and set off their colossal stockpile of fireworks and firecrackers, scaring away evil spirits and filling cities with warzone levels of noise, smoke and red paper.
In recent years, the Chinese government has figured out that this practice might not be so good for the environment and has attempted to crackdown on the characteristic spontaneous fireworks displays.
Reuters reports that the latest move in this effort is to task local officials to “take the lead” and refrain from filling Beijing’s skies with even more noxious particles than usual.
“Proactively guide family members and friends not to let off or to limit the letting off of fireworks and firecrackers, improve air quality together and get into the action of ensuring blue skies for the capital,” the municipal government told cadres.
Meanwhile, Henan province has banned the use of fireworks in all cities and towns. In Hebei’s capital of Shijiazhuang, you must register your name before purchasing any pyrotechnics.
Last year, fireworks were banned in a total of 138 Chinese cities and restrictions on their usage were imposed in 536 other cities. Zhengzhou threatened that anyone caught setting off firecrackers would be fined 500 yuan. These types of restrictions have dealt a heavy blow to China’s once booming fireworks industry.
Along with environmental concerns, there are also safety concerns. Earlier this week, a fireworks store in Yueyang, Hunan province went up in flames after an impatient customer set off a firework near the shop. Six people living above the store were killed in the ensuing inferno.
[Images via China Daily]
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