Firecracker orders down 20 pct in Beijing amid pollution concerns

 

 

 

Photohttp://cnews.chinadaily.com.cn/2015-02/13/content_19581615.htm
 

 

 

 

BEIJING  |  2015-02-14 18:40:05

 

Firecracker orders

down 20 pct in Beijing

amid pollution concerns

 

 

By Lü Dong, Sun Lei and Xie Han

 

 

Photo - http://www.bjylyh01.com/

 

 

Firecracker orders at Beijing retailers are down 20 percent this year as authorities have slashed the number of permitted sales days and reduced retail spots amid pollution concerns.

Firecrackers are officially available at temporary retail spots across Beijing ahead of the Lunar New Year. Beijing authorities have cut the number of days when firecrackers may be sold from 20 to 11.

Authorities approved 942 firecracker retail spots this year, down more than 100 from a year ago. The city missed a key pollution reduction target last year and vowed more stringent efforts and fiscal support to curb air pollution this year.

Firecracker retail spots opened for business on Friday in Beijing. Retailers labelled as environmentally friendly have become a new favorite among consumers.

“We are looking for safer, less polluting and smoke-free firecrackers.” said a Beijing citizen surnamed Guo.

The less-polluting alternatives feature improved black powder and new chemicals and contain less heavy metals and sulphur, thus reducing hazardous sulfide emissions.

However, environmentally friendly products are also 10 to 15 percent more expensive than regular fireworks.

“You can tell from the orders that retailers are very cautious this year about how many firecrackers they can sell,” said Pan Di, a manager at Beijing Panda Fireworks Co., Ltd. “Our shipments so far have barely reached 110,000 boxes, and that’s 20 percent less from a year ago.”

Pan added that the share of environmentally friendly firecrackers among his company’s offerings has risen from 30 percent to 70 this year.

Setting off fireworks during the Lunar New Year is an age-old tradition in China, as ancient superstitions hold that the light and sound scare away evil spirits.

But in recent years they have been blamed for making air pollution in some Chinese cities even worse, forcing local governments to forbid or limit firework displays.

A total of 138 cities have introduced bans and 536 cities have issued restrictions on fireworks so far, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

“It’s really the less the better for firecrackers, since they pollute the air. But it’s also a must-have for the festival, so I guess a little will do,” said Beijing resident Cheng Xiaolong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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