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Take the lead on fireworks
Publication Date : 29-01-2014
As the Chinese New Year approaches, authorities in Beijing are advocating officials and Party members to set an example to residents by not letting off firecrackers for celebrations.
The proposal, issued in an official circular of the city, is a good move because of fireworks' detrimental impact on air quality, says an editorial in Beijing Youth Daily.
Setting off fireworks has become an essential part of the celebrations for the Lunar New Year. However, as smog is now such a pressing problem in Beijing and many other cities, their use should be discouraged as they only aggravate the air pollution.
Data from the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center show that the density of PM10 in the air, particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter, reached a peak on Lunar New Year eve two years ago. Its monitoring stations also found there was "severe" air pollution in many parts of Beijing at the same time last year.
Some may argue that burning firecrackers is a traditional part of Chinese culture. But culture derives from life and changes with the times. Since we have been choking on the smog that at times makes people only yards in front of us almost invisible, it should be common sense that we express our joy and wishes at the new year without coughing and spluttering on the aftereffects of fireworks.
Of course, it will take some time for all to accept that the Lunar New Year can be welcomed without a bang; that is why the capital's authorities have done a smart move by advocating officials and Party members to change their habits first, instead of issuing any immediate ban on firecrackers. Leading the way is a better and more effective means of persuading people to follow a new civilized trend in the society.
Torching fewer touch papers can be a useful step in fighting air pollution, which is a health threat to all and needs the cooperation of all of society to curb.
We hope by setting off fewer fireworks the city can breathe easier in the Chinese New Year.