FIREWORKS RAISE POLLUTION CONCERNS

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Added On January 27, 2014

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.
 
But with regular bouts of smog hitting China in recent years, fireworks' contribution to air pollution has drawn wide attention.
 
Firework sales in Beijing started on Saturday.
 
For the second year, Beijing has cut the number of firework stores for the upcoming Spring Festival, a move aiming to reduce air pollution.
 
Besides, environmentally friendly fireworks, which contain no sulphur and produce less smoke, are on the market.
 
SOUNDBITE (CHINESE): WANG YANYAN, Saleswoman:
"Environmentally friendly fireworks produce less smoke. There's even a kind of fireworks which produce no smoke at all. There're no scraps left after you set them off."
 
But as the environmentally friendly fireworks are priced higher than conventional ones, it appears that they're not very popular among consumers.
 
Beijing authorities have said firework and firecracker celebrations would be banned if serious air pollution is forecast for the festival.
 
This seems to win public support.
 
SOUNDBITE (CHINESE): Beijing resident
"My child said their school has called for fewer firecrackers because of air pollution concerns. So this year, we'll just buy some small fireworks rather than firecrackers."
 
SOUNDBITE (CHINESE): Beijing resident
"We won't buy any fireworks, nor will we set off any. I think we should all try our best not to set off fireworks or firecrackers, or at least set off fewer, because of air pollution."
 
The firework spree during last year's Lunar New Year led to a surge in PM 2.5 which measures hazardous fine particles. The readhing shot to 500 micrograms per cubic meter.