Medical experts expect sharp increase in fireworks injuries this New Year's
Medical experts expect a sharp increase in fireworks-related injuries this New Year. The Netherlands banned consumer fireworks over the past two New Year’s because of the coronavirus pandemic. Hospitals fear that consumers who light fireworks will be even more exorbitant than usual now that they’re allowed again, the Telegraaf reports.
This year is the first time that the effect of the ban on flares and firecrackers will be visible. The government banned these dangerous fireworks -which tend to cause the most injuries and damage - in 2020. However, due to the overall ban on consumer fireworks during the pandemic, the effects are still unclear.
Tjeerd de Faber, an ophthalmologist at the Eye Hospital, doesn’t think that the ban on firecrackers and flares will be enough to prevent a spike in injuries this year. “It may reduce the number of injuries slightly, but we will certainly not be rid of the misery,” he said to the newspaper.
“Before the coronavirus, fireworks cost two blinded eyes nationally per hour of tolerance,” De Faber said. “So if you are allowed to light fireworks for eight hours, you will have an average of 16 blinded eyes. There have also been 22. But last year, we only had to treat one blinded eye.”
Ophthalmologists and emergency rooms have long advocated for a complete ban on consumer fireworks due to the injuries they cause. Several municipalities have banned fireworks locally, but as consumers can just go to the next town over to light them, the effect on the number of injuries is minor.
Lighting fireworks over New Year’s is a cherished tradition for many Dutch people, but support for a total ban has been steadily growing among Netherlands residents. This year, 61 percent of Netherlands residents support banning consumer fireworks altogether.