Around 20% of the imported fireworks on sale in the Netherlands don’t meet Dutch safety standards, government inspectors said on Monday.
Fireworks go on sale at licenced depots throughout the Netherlands on Tuesday, ahead of the New Year firework frenzy. Fireworks can only be legally set off on the evening of December 31.
Importers are required by law to destroy fireworks which do not meet official quality standards, news agency ANP said. Over 500 people had hospital treatment last year because of firework injuries.
Pressure is mounting on the government to ban the sale of fireworks to the general public entirely and a large number of local councils have introduced firework-free zones.
The Dutch pyrotechnic association said on Monday that noisy fireworks account for fewer than 10% of sales this year, compared with almost 30% five years ago.
Meanwhile, broadcaster Nos reports that army bomb disposal experts are called in to deal with do-it-yourself fireworks at least 15 times a year.
Over the past few months, they have tackled home-made firework bombs in Zoetermeer, Gouda, Spijkenisse and Oldebroek, Nos said. In Spijkenisse and Oldebroek other residents were evacuated while the fireworks are made safe.
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