Central China province lifts fireworks ban days after it was issued

Updated 2017-01-18 09:25:24 Xinhua

Henan Province on Monday lifted a ban just two days after a directive expanded the existing firecracker ban to cover all towns during Spring Festival.

The province, like many others in northern China, has experienced bad air quality this winter, and an environmental pollution office was established to help address the issue.

According to an emergency notice released by the office on Saturday, firecrackers should be banned in all cities, counties, townships and villages across the province.

Meanwhile, government officials who failed to implement the ban were threatened with punishments.

The notice split opinion online.

Some people supported the ban, applauding the government's resolution while others thought the ban was too tough and saw no reason why firecrackers should be banned in rural areas.

Fireworks and firecracker dealers also launched an online petition, calling for the government to consider what they stood to lose.

"We hope the government can give us more time to response to the decision," they said in the petition.

A survey initiated by sina.com showed that 25 percent of respondents supported the ban, 47 percent objected it while 26.4 percent thought it would be too difficult to implement such a strict ban.

Officials with Henan Provincial Environmental Protection Department said the government moved to lift the ban as it was decided that it would conflict with Chinese traditions.

Chinese have set off firecrackers during Spring Festival, or the Lunar New Year, for centuries. It is believed the noise will drive away bad spirits and bring good luck.

While emissions from heavy industries, coal-fired boilers, cars, and the burning of biofuels are considered the main causes of rising smog in northern China, intensive periods of fireworks can cause pollutant density to shoot up in a short time.

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