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China's Airpocalypse
Chinese Experts Call for Fireworks Ban to Combat Smog

China’s toxic air pollution is both deadly and expensive; it’s also ruining the fun for everyone. Some experts in China are asking cities to do their part to curb smog by canceling traditional fireworks displays. Reuters reports:

With smog expected to start blanketing central and eastern China from Thursday, Chen Zhenlin, spokesman for the China Meteorological Administration, said local governments should ban fireworks completely, the official China Daily said.

“Firecrackers and fireworks can release large amounts of toxic gas and particles such as sulfur dioxide, which will cause severe air pollution,” Chen was quoted as saying.

It’s not clear whether local governments will heed the warning, but officials are clearly taking the problem of air pollution seriously. Beijing’s Mayor has called for an “all-out” attempt to clear the city’s skies, and the central government has set aside billions of yuan to ameliorate the problem and issued directives to some of its cities not to start new industrial projects.

China’s state media has a history of trying to find the silver lining to the toxic clouds that hang over its cities. Some have even gone as far as to say that smog helps missile defense efforts and boosts urbanites’ senses of humor. A fireworks ban would be pretty hard to spin, however. They’re a focal point in New Year celebrations and are traditionally thought to bestow good luck.

Then again, controversy over a ban could be a moot point: Given how bad the visibility can get in China’s megacities, it’s possible no one would be able to see the fireworks anyway.

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  • free_agent

    Are fireworks a significant contributor to air pollution? It sounds like this is an attempt to do something that is visible, rather that to do something that would help (but be much more expensive to do).

  • TommyTwo

    “Some have even gone as far as to say that smog helps missile defense efforts and boosts urbanites’ senses of humor.”

    Well the first claim certainly made this urbanite laugh!

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