Dutch authorities increasingly concerned about dangerous fireworks

Rotterdam police seize Over 1,800 kg of illegal fireworks in Hoogvliet and Wezep, 28 Dec 2016
Rotterdam police seize Over 1,800 kg of illegal fireworks in Hoogvliet and Wezep, 28 Dec 2016Photo: Politie

Dutch authorities are increasingly concerned about dangerous fireworks used to usher in the New Year. 
"Experience show that more and more often extremely dangerous fireworks are lit", Hague Mayor Jozias van Aartsen said in a press statement, according to the Volkskrant.

He calls on all involved to not wait until autumn to start the fireworks discussion in politics and society. "The damage and injuries caused by these dangerous fireworks are no longer proportional to the entertainment they provide", the Hague mayor said.

Ad Nieuwdorp, fireworks expert at the National Police, is also concerned about increasingly dangerous fireworks. According to Nieuwdorp, there was a slight decrease in the total amount of illegal fireworks confiscated by the police this year. But especially teenagers increasingly get their hands on explosive fireworks, that are often not up to safety standards. According to NOS, fake Cobra fireworks are circulating in the Netherlands. These illegal fireworks have similar firepower to small hand grenades, and they are widely being recreated in Eastern Europe and China, according to the broadcaster. 

Police officers and firefighters in various cities had to deal with fireworks pelted at them during New Year's celebrations. Over 50 people were arrested. 

The Rotterdam Eye Hospital treated 14 people whose eyes were hurt by fireworks. "The severity of injuries this year is, unfortunately, the same as last year." Tjeerd Faber of the Netherlands Ophtalmological Society said to the Volkskrant. According to him, this again shows that consumer fireworks should no longer be allowed in the Netherlands. 

Fireworks complaint hotline Vuurwerkoverlast.nl received only 45 thousand complaints of fireworks incidents this year, compared to 89thousand last year.