How many fireworks are you doing

Corona: ban New Year's fireworks to relieve clinics?

Status: November 19, 2020 4:57 p.m.

There will probably not be any big parties at the turn of the year because of the corona pandemic. Many people hope at least for a New Year's Eve fireworks display in a small group - but in many places it will probably not work either.

For many years, just before the turn of the year, there has been a constant discussion about the meaning of New Year's fireworks. Critics have long been calling for a ban on firecrackers and rockets - this was mostly about environmental protection, because the fine dust pollution is high. In addition, numerous people are injured by fireworks - the police, fire brigade and emergency doctors are in constant use. This year, the coronavirus is also playing a major role in the debate, which is now back in full swing - for example in Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony. According to NDR 90.3, the Hamburg Senate has not yet dealt with a possible firecrackers ban on New Year's Eve.

Seehofer: Fireworks must be possible despite Corona

Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) does not believe in a ban. "Fireworks must be possible on New Year's Eve despite Corona. But here, too, it is very clear: The hygiene rules with distance and mask must be adhered to. And there will also be controls," said the minister of "Bild".

Police Union for Prohibition

The German Police Union (DPolG), on the other hand, is in favor of a ban on fireworks. Hamburg's state chairman Thomas Jungfer explains in an interview with NDR Info why he does not consider crowds to be sensible in these times. "Many want to shoot the evil spirits away from Corona," said Jungfer. But alcohol quickly joined the fireworks, larger groups of people would form - and that was not hip. A firecracker ban could help against this - he advocates a nationwide regulation.

Netherlands prohibits fireworks

Last week, the Netherlands banned fireworks on New Year's Eve. Lower Saxony's neighboring country justified this with the fact that the medical emergency services should not also take care of injuries from fireworks in the middle of the corona pandemic. Last year around 1,300 people were treated in hospitals or general practitioners' clinics for injuries with fireworks in the Netherlands alone.

Kiel: SSW advocates a ban on firecrackers

SSW politician Lars Harms advocates a ban on New Year's fireworks.

If the Kiel council group of the South Schleswig Voters' Association (SSW) has its way, the sky over Kiel will also be significantly darker than usual on New Year's Eve. Lars Harms, chairman of the SSW in the state parliament, stated in a statement: "The decision of the Dutch cabinet is consistent and correct. And I hope that many municipalities in this country will also follow the example. The medical and nursing staff in our clinics now really have enough to do with the pandemic. Patients do not have to be added unnecessarily at the turn of the year to have."

Municipalities could offer laser shows

But apart from Covid-19, it makes sense, according to Harms, to significantly reduce the bullying: "Because New Year's Eve fireworks are not only an annual burden for law enforcement and rescue workers, but also to a large extent for the environment." Instead, municipalities could offer central fireworks or laser shows. "Then everyone would have something from them, regardless of their wallet. Not only hospitals and police, but also our pets and the climate would certainly be grateful to us," emphasized Harms.

SH: The Minister of the Interior is critical of Böllern

Schleswig-Holstein's Minister of the Interior, Sabine Sütterlin-Waack, is critical of the gunfire this year because of the corona pandemic. "I am convinced that, as every year, our cities and communities will be responsible for issuing a ban on firecrackers wherever it is necessary," said the CDU politician. "Because in addition to fine dust pollution and the risk of injury, this year there is also the corona problem." The legal situation already provides for corresponding regulations for particularly densely populated areas or areas with thatched roof houses, said Sütterlin-Waack. "In addition, this year people will certainly consider even more precisely than usual whether a fireworks display fits in with the time."

Mayor of Wangeroog: Leave rockets at home

There should be no fireworks on the East Frisian island of Wangerooge at the turn of the year. Because of Corona, Mayor Marcel Fangohr (non-party) wants to prevent people from gathering. "This time, leave rockets and firecrackers at home and spend a quiet New Year here by the North Sea," the head of administration appeals. Fangohr also told NDR 1 Lower Saxony that the other East Frisian Islands also wanted to prevent fireworks. Borkum's mayor Jürgen Akkermann (CDU) and Juist's mayor Tjark Goerges were surprised. According to Akkermann, there was no agreement, and not all heads of administration are of the same opinion as Fangohr, as reported by the "Ostfriesen-Zeitung". "I may have advanced a little by speaking for everyone," said Fangohr.

No regulation for fireworks in Hanover yet

In Hanover there is still no final regulation for New Year's fireworks. However, it is becoming apparent that, as in 2018 and 2019, no firecrackers will be set up for safety reasons. This is most likely. The question of whether fireworks and firecrackers will generally be avoided because of the corona situation is not yet an issue in Hanover. "Given the highly dynamic situation, that is simply too early," said city spokesman Udo Möller. In addition, he believes that this will not be regulated at the local level, but presumably uniformly across the country. In the previous year, the prohibition zone in Hanover comprised the area between the main train station, Opernplatz and Kröpke. Fireworks were not allowed there or set off.

Environmental aid calls for a ban on the sale of fireworks

The German Environmental Aid (DUH) warned that private fireworks on New Year's Eve could further burden hospitals in the Corona crisis. "Thousands of people are injured by firecrackers every year, including many young people," said DUH Federal Managing Director Jürgen Resch. The federal government should therefore follow the example of the Netherlands and "completely ban the sale and use of New Year's fireworks". The DUH also cited as a reason for their demand that "any additional air pollution from firecrackers and rockets" must be avoided. Because it is becoming increasingly clear that there is a connection between fine dust pollution and severe disease courses from Covid-19. According to its own information, environmental aid applied to Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) and Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) on Monday to issue a general ban on the sale and use of fireworks in November. This could be done by simply changing the Explosives Ordinance.

Association: General fireworks bans disproportionate

The Association of the Pyrotechnic Industry (VPI) criticized the demands for a ban. It is surprising how "environmental aid is becoming more and more flexible in its argument against our New Year's Eve consumption," said VPI CEO Thomas Schreiber. The CPI does not want to question the fact that the hospitals have to be relieved, but the association sees the symbolic image of fireworks trying again here.

It is still the illegal fireworks that lead to injuries, it is far more dangerous, said VPI managing director Klaus Gotzen. "You can imagine what happens when our quality items are taken out of the range. There are always chaos who want to abuse fireworks." The association sees the danger that precisely these groups of people will increasingly use illegal fireworks. "Here politicians should better ensure that illegal imports are more closely controlled. In the worst case, a ban on permitted and safe articles will drive even more people to hospital. We consider general bans on private fireworks to be disproportionate," explained Gotzen.

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NDR Info | NDR Info | 11/19/2020 | 14:00 clock