Last week, fireworks regulations in Shanghai were tightened to include a new rule stating ‘fireworks are prohibited from being used around high-rise buildings outside the Outer Ring Road, that are covered with flammable materials.’
The Regulations on Safety Management of Fireworks in Shanghai, which was issued in 1995, is a local directive proposed by the government of Shanghai, aimed at reducing both air pollution and the safety risks associated with fireworks usage. The last time an amendment was made to the regulation was December 30, 2015, which saw the banning of fireworks within the Outer Ring Road.
This new extension on the ban will also extend to the whole city on heavily-polluted days.
In addition to high-rise buildings covered with flammable materials, fireworks are also banned in the following areas outside the Outer Ring Road: government buildings, historic sites, transportation hubs (including bus stations, ferries, metro stations and airports), compounds where inflammable and explosive materials are produced, sold or stored, energy facilities, hospitals, kindergartens, schools, senior homes, as well as densely-populated places such as shopping malls and religious sites.
The government will continue to reinforce their requirement around the purchasing of firecrackers through authorized sources, by limiting the legal selling locations and cracking down on illegal places. Officials have advised that those who purchase fireworks will also be required to register their name with authorities.
Civilians are also encouraged to hand in any fireworks they have, and report illegal acts related to the improper use of fireworks, by calling 12345, 110 or 96119.
The Leading Group of Safety Management of Fireworks confirmed the illegal use of fireworks is most likely to happen during New Year, Chinese New Year, January 5 in the lunar calendar (which, according to Chinese tradition, is the day to welcome the God of Fortune) and the Lantern Festival.
During these occasions, police and volunteers will join forces to supervise and discourage residents from violating the regulation. Those who insist on using fireworks will incur a monetary penalty of up to RMB500.
Although setting off fireworks is a traditional way to celebrate festivals in China, perhaps it’s time to reflect on the danger and environmental impact and investigate how these traditions can be replaced with something new to express our delight and expectations for the season ahead.