Despite recent calls to severely limit—or even ban altogether—the sale of fireworks this year, the law will not be changed this year and the days for firework sales will continue unchanged, RÚV reports.
Last October, the Ministry of Justice drafted a bill that would have, if passed, limited the sale of fireworks to just three days: December 30th and 31st, and January 6th. It would have furthermore limited the use of larger fireworks to a window lasting from 16:00 New Years Eve until 02:00 New Years Day.
Last month, the Health Inspectorate of Reykjavík proposed instead to ban the use of fireworks altogether. The contention there was that it would be difficult to enforce the use of larger fireworks within the time frame that the Justice Ministry proposed, and that the fireworks themselves have a demonstrable, negative effect on the respiratory health of many Icelanders.
Despite this, authorities have decided that due to the coronavirus pandemic, it would not be advisable to restrict the sales window for fireworks, which would have the potential to create very large groups of people gathering together to buy them.
That fireworks are polluting—especially in the quantities that Icelanders buy them—is not new information. Lead, copper, HCB and heavy metals are amongst the particles which rain down on Iceland in great quantities on New Years Eve, and they do not dissipate after the fireworks are over. Each year, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions are advised to stay indoors and close their windows each New Years Eve.
The most prevalent argument against banning their sale is that the proceeds go to supporting Iceland’s rescue squads. For those who want to do so, without buying fireworks, it is possible to donate directly to them.
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