Dutch police chief Erik Akerboom, doctors’ organisations, the mayors of the four big Dutch cities plus other campaign groups have joined forces to call on the government to bring in a partial ban on consumer fireworks during the New Year festivities.
The campaigners have taken out a full page in the AD newspaper calling for change. ‘I want to make this year safer, while maintaining the tradition,’ Akerboom says in an interview with the paper. ‘Many of the problems can be eradicated by only allowing decorative fireworks, plus organised displays,’ he said.
Some 400 people ended up at accidents and emergency departments with serious injuries during last year’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, making it the most dangerous time of the year in many places, according to the Dutch safety board OVV.
The OVV, police and the local authorities organisation VNG have all previously called on the government to take action but ministers have so far refused, saying fireworks are a ‘valued tradition.’
Amsterdam is introducing special zones where fireworks can be set off this year, following in the footsteps of Rotterdam which said in October amateur fireworks would be limited to designated zones.
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