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Weather warning over fireworks

2014-01-30 08:57 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: Yao Lan

Shanghai residents are being urged not to set off fireworks to welcome the Chinese New Year tonight because still, calm weather is forecast.

Pollutants released by fireworks and firecrackers will be unable to disperse and instead hang over the city, weather and environmental authorities warned yesterday.

At dawn on Chinese New Year's Day in Shanghai last year, the density of PM2.5 particles — especially harmful tiny pollutants — peaked at 523.7 micrograms per cubic meter. The national standard is 75.

Still conditions are forecast for today, Chinese New Year's Eve, and part of tomorrow, the start of the Year of the Horse, said officials.

Winds are expected to arrive with high pressure from the north later tomorrow which should help disperse smog.

Traditionally, fireworks and firecrackers are set off to celebrate the Spring Festival, especially on the Chinese New Year's Eve and four days later to welcome the God of Fortune.

But the celebrations add a further burden to air quality and Shanghai has been trying to persuade residents to welcome the New Year with less of a bang.

This year, areas where fireworks are banned have been extended, numbers of sellers in residential areas reduced and public sector and state-run company employees asked not to set them off.

Recent years have also seen the introduction of "greener" fireworks with fewer pollutants.

The message may be getting through, as a recent survey by the Shanghai Statistics Bureau found more than 85 percent of local people said they would not buy fireworks for the Spring Festival and 81 percent support a ban throughout the year.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Quality and Technical Supervision Bureau announced that 20 of 30 batches of fireworks and firecrackers tested last week failed to meet standards. Problems ranged from fuses to the use of banned chemicals.

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