China / Society

'Green' fireworks fail to curb pollution

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-02-01 08:32

'Green' fireworks fail to curb pollution
Firework paper wastes are seen in a residential community in Henan January 31, 2014.  [Photo/]

TAIYUAN - Environmentally friendly fireworks have been introduced in north China's Shanxi Province to protect the environment and create the festival atmosphere at the same time.

Fireworks, a Chinese New Year tradition, have been blamed for dust,  sulfur dioxide and serious regional air pollution, but people find it hard to abandon the tradition.

"Environmentally friendly fireworks are a good way to resolve the conflict," said Zhao Yujia, professor of Beijing Institute of Technology, and member of China fireworks and firecrackers standardization and technical committee.

The new product is made with improved black powder and some new chemicals. The larger particles it produces after exploding drop faster, and do not affect PA 2.5, airborne particles measuring less than 2.5 microns.

They cut the discharge of smoggy waste by 40 to 60 percent, according to Wang Fengyan, vice general manager of the Taiyuan branch of Panda Fireworks Co. Ltd..

"But the product has not been as popular as we expected," Wang said.

According to Wang Sheng, a firework store owner, environmental protection is the priority for people who enjoyed firecrackers and fireworks on New Year. Higher prices are are reason impeding sales of environmental fireworks. The price of one box of environmental fireworks is 600 yuan (100 U.S. dollars), 10 to 15 percent higher than the normal fireworks, Wang added.

Chinese people traditionally light firecrackers and fireworks during the Lunar New Year, which falls on January 31 this year, hoping the noise will fend off evil spirits and bad luck. However, with regular smog in China, fireworks' contribution to air pollution has drawn the attention of the public and authorities.

The firework spree during last year's Lunar New Year led to a surge in the PM 2.5 reading, to 500 micrograms per cubic meter on Lunar New Year's Eve..

Beijing residents have been asked to replace fireworks with flowers and electronic substitutes.

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