Beijing limits sale, use of Spring Festival fireworks

Beijing, Feb 5 (IANS) The sale of fireworks and their use will be banned in the Chinese capital Beijing if serious air pollution is forecast for the upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations, the media reported on Friday.

The ban will take effect if smoggy conditions warrant an orange or red air quality alert during the holiday, which begins on February 7, the People’s Daily reported.

A red air quality alert is China’s highest air pollution warning, which was issued twice in December 2015.

Starting from Wednesday, 719 vendors have began selling firecrackers in Beijing — 23.7 percent fewer than last year.

Fireworks sale will continue for 10 days. Any unsold items must be in storage by February 18, according to Beijing’s Administration of Work Safety.

The Chinese have a tradition of celebrating the Lunar New Year with firecrackers and fireworks, hoping the noise can fend off evil spirits and bad luck. However, with regular bouts of smog hitting China in recent years, the contribution of fireworks to air pollution has drawn attention from the public and authorities.

More and more customers prefer to buy environmentally-friendly fireworks — which contain no sulphur and emit less smoke — through e-commerce portals where they could get a 31 percent discount, said a supplier who sold 100,000 yuan worth of firecrackers on the first day.

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