New Year fireworks could be banned for the second year in a row after the cabinet asked the Outbreak Management Team for advice on the safety implications.
The government announced on November 8 last year that fireworks would not be permitted to prevent the healthcare system being overburdened.
The number of injuries treated in emergency departments was 75% lower last New Year, Tjeerd de Faber, chair of the Dutch Ophthalmic Community, told RTL Nieuws. ‘The medical evidence has shown that a ban works,’ he said.
FNV Zorg en Welzijn, the healthcare branch of the largest Dutch trade union, also called on the government, municipalities and citizens to take responsibility over New Year, which is the busiest period of the year for the emergency services.
‘Pressure on hospital staff is already immense. It’s playing with fire to put more demand on these caregivers through irresponsible behaviour,’ a spokesman said.
The government tightened the rules on fireworks earlier in 2020 to ban the most dangerous types, including rockets and firecrackers. In 2019 almost 1,300 people went to hospitals or their family doctor with firework-related injuries inflicted at New Year.
Leo Goeneveld, of industry body BPN, argued that the new rules made a total ban unnecessary. ‘All we have now is ornamental fireworks which are safe if they’re used properly.’
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