PRIOR TO THIS YEAR'S SPRING FESTIVAL, many media outlets and scholars called for a total ban on fireworks because of the air pollution they cause. A comment on ifeng.com said:
Fireworks are one of the biggest headaches in modern cities during Spring Festival. They not only cause noise pollution, but also air pollution. Data show that the density of PM2.5 reached a peak during Chinese New Year's Eve in Beijing, which is also usually the peak time for setting off fireworks.
Worse, fireworks cause injuries. Every year during the Spring Festival holiday, hospitals receive patients who have been injured by fireworks. This year, Tongren Hospital even arranged a special team of experts to be on duty, ready to treat anybody who suffered an eye injury.
Those burning fireworks are actually violating other people's rights. They make noise, pollute the air, and pose threats to the health and safety of others. People's right to set off fireworks does not come before people's right to be safe.
For our health and social order, it is time to consider a total ban on fireworks in cities. Fireworks belong to the agricultural society of the past and they are not fit for the modern urban life.
Many argue that burning fireworks is a traditional way of celebrating Spring Festival and it should be respected. But fireworks have a history of about 1,300 years, which is rather short compared with the 5,000-year history of Chinese civilization.
Traditions change, and fireworks are themselves a product of new inventions. If we stick to something outdated only because it carries the name of "tradition" that will curb social progress.
Even if some people are unwilling to give fireworks up, modern technology can help. We have all kinds of electronic firecrackers that sound the same and produce similar visual effects. The fireworks lovers could use these safer and more environment friendly substitutes.