Beijing reports fewer injuries, better air quality on New Year's Eve
Beijing reported fewer injuries and fires caused by fireworks on the lunar New Year's Eve due to a strict ban of fireworks in central areas, local authorities said on Friday.
The city reported 7 injuries and 12 fires caused by fireworks on Thursday night, around half of last year's figures.
About 820,000 workers ensured the ban was fully implemented within the city's fifth ring road, according to the fireworks office of the municipal government. Beijing also used 32,000 policemen and helicopters.
The fireworks ban played its due role in reducing pollution. According the environmental protection center, the air was much cleaner this year than in 2017 with similar weather.
Average density of PM2.5 was 201 on in the city Thursday night, less than half of last year.
For years, Beijing's skyline had burst into light with fireworks exploding across the capital to mark the onset of Spring Festival.
This year will be remembered for the eerie silence as the municipal legislature banned all fireworks in the city center in December.
Zhang Xiang, a Beijing resident, was sad at the subdued start to the New Year holidays." It does not feel like a New Year, especially for the children."
Zhang suggested the government learn from foreign cities and hold fireworks shows to let traditions continue
Beijing is one of more than 400 cities across China to ban fireworks due to concerns about pollution.
Shijiazhuang, capital of the neighboring Hebei Province, is another.
At 7pm on Thursday, the air quality in Shijiazhuang was fine in urban monitoring stations, while the air in neighboring Zhaoxian, Xinle and Shenze counties, which did not have a fire fireworks ban, was heavily polluted.
The Shijiazhuang government will hold electric fireworks show during the Spring Festival to add festive elements while reducing pollution at the same time.
"The ban has been in place for years. I am used to the Spring Festival without fireworks," said Li Fei, a local resident. "There are many other things we can do."