Firecrackers, Sky rockets to be banned this year: Report

Fireworks debris in Amsterdam
Ash, rubble and debris caused by fireworks in Amsterdam Oost. Jan. 1, 2020NL Times

The Dutch government has reached a deal to outlaw firecrackers and sky rockets, government sources told broadcaster NOS and website NU.nl. The prohibition will take effect before the upcoming New Year's period, and could potentially be in line with recommendations issued by the Dutch Safety Board in 2017.

Many ornamental fireworks may still be allowed to be sold. It was not immediately clear if multi-shot decorative aerial fireworks would continue to be permitted, but fountains and spinning ground bloom flowers were likely to escape the ban.

Youth-oriented fireworks like sparklers, crackling balls, bang snaps and birthday cake fountains will also continue to be sold. These are considered relatively harmless, and will still be available year-round, NU.nl said.

The ban is a response to the thousands of fireworks-related incidents that took place over the recent New Year's period. All told, there were 9,300 incidents connected to arson, vandalism, and violence against first responders and emergency services providers. That was an increase of 387 over the previous year's totals.

One such incident included the smoke-inhalation deaths of a father and his four-year-old son, caused by a fire in an apartment building that was triggered by a fireworks blast in the lobby. The mother of the family and the eight-year-old son were critically injured, two of the 1,300 reported injuries this period.

Political support for a wider fireworks ban has been growing in recent years, but especially over the past month. Groenlinks and animal rights party PvdD have been opposed to the explosives for years. This year Public Health Minister Hugo de Jonge, of conservative Christian party CDA, said the fireworks tradition cannot continue in the way it has in the past.

"I always enjoy fireworks a lot myself, but when I see police car after police car driving by, I think: this is a tradition that needs to change," he said.

A year ago, a slim majority of the Dutch population was against a ban, though a majority of women were in favor of outlawing fireworks.

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