Air Pollution Takes the Whizz Bang Out of China’s New Year Festivities

Fireworks over Beijing on January 25, 2009.  (Bridget Coila/flickr)
Fireworks over Beijing on January 25, 2009. (Bridget Coila/flickr)

China’s toxic air problem is dire and out of fear of making it any worse, large parts of the country have prohibited or restricted the use of fireworks during the Chinese New Year.

Nearly 140 cities have placed an outright ban on the use of fireworks for the Lunar New Year festivities while 536 cities have issued restrictions reports Channel NewsAsia.

The Chinese use of fireworks during this time of year is an age-old tradition where it was seen as a way to scare off evil spirits.

Fireworks were invented by the Chinese in the seventh century during the Tang Dynasty.

“Just like how the Northern Chinese eat dumplings during festivals, setting off fireworks is a tradition,” said Xue Xichen, a Tianjin resident told Channel NewsAsia. “If the authorities are serious about tackling pollution, they should tackle industrial pollution. Setting off fireworks is just a once-a-year event. It is not as bad as industrial pollution.”

Mass industrialization has meant that China is also the globe’s number one emitter of greenhouse gases. The country still uses coal for around 60 per cent of all energy production reports the South China Morning Post.

Around this time last year Chinese scientists raised the alarm bells when they said that the mainland’s toxic air pollution had become so bad it that it resembles a nuclear winter, reported The Guardian.

 

A photo of a bunch of firework rockets that was taken on January 12, 2014 somewhere in Jiangxi, China. (Epic Fireworks/flickr)

A photo of a bunch of firework rockets that was taken on January 12, 2014 somewhere in Jiangxi, China. (Epic Fireworks/flickr)

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