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Fireworks sales fizzle during Lunar New Year

By Zheng Xin  (China Daily)

08:30, February 26, 2013

The sale of fireworks and firecrackers - and injuries related to their use - saw a sharp decrease during the Lunar New Year compared with last year, sources with the Beijing municipal government's fireworks administration office said on Monday.

A total of 370,000 cartons of fireworks were sold in the same period in the city, a 35 percent decrease compared with the 570,000 cartons sold in the same period last year.

In addition, 210 people were injured in fireworks-related accidents over the past 16 days, down 23 percent year-on-year, according to the office.

More than 1 million people were sent out to ensure that fireworks were used safely, according to a statement from the office.

The authority also launched a three-day campaign to collect unused fireworks from residents, who will be compensated with gifts.

"To collect the fireworks, we have sent out 121 staff, in 35 trucks all over Beijing last night," said Wei Bo, a sales manager at Panda Fireworks, one of the three fireworks suppliers in Beijing.

On Sunday, the day of the Lantern Festival as well as the end of the city's 16-day fireworks spree, the average density of PM2.5 hit 300 micrograms per cubic meter in some parts of the city, up from 200 micrograms per cubic meter on Saturday night, well above the national standard of 75 micrograms per cubic meter, according to the Beijing Municipal Environment Monitoring Center.

Although Monday's snowfall might clear some of the smog that has been shrouding the capital for several days, the city's environmental protection bureau suggested the public stay indoors, especially the elderly and those with lung and heart trouble.

This year, residents were allowed to set off fireworks within the Fifth Ring Road in Beijing from Feb 9, the Lunar New Year's Eve, through Feb 24, the Lantern Festival.

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