BEIJING, Jan. 19 (Xinhuanet) -- Smog across China, and the tradition of setting off fireworks to celebrate the Spring Festival, only make the condition worse. China is the world's largest producer, consumer and exporter of fireworks. An estimated 90 percent of the globe's pyrotechnics are designed and produced in China, most of them in Liuyang, Hunan province. But, several fireworks incidents in recent years have raised concerns about safety, and the air pollution in Northern China has also affected sales. Liuyang's fireworks companies are trying to cope with the challenges.
This used to be one of more than one thousand fireworks manufacturing companies in Liuyang, Hunan province, the world's capital of fireworks production. But 10 months ago it stopped producing fireworks and is now focusing on medical devices and small Christmas crafts.
Some old "Feiying Fireworks" still haven't been removed, but the rebuilding of the new factory has been completed, and the assembly lines have been bought. Workers are now being trained in Southern China.
"When the new fireworks safety standards were published last year, we found it's really difficult for us to continue. The factory was asked to move to mountainous areas where there are no inhabitants nearby. And we don't have any extra money to have good management and training to reduce the incidents," Huang Minghai from Liuyang Sange Medical Device Co. says.
Yihelong Fireworks is one of the biggest fireworks manufacturing companies in Liuyang. It was asked to purchase some smaller workshops nearby, which couldn't afford to transform their businesses. Yihelong has also developed new technology to produce environmentally friendly and safer products.
"There are more restrictions on producing fireworks today, particularly after some fireworks explosions occurred in China last year. I think it's good to slow down a bit. We should focus on improving the safety awareness and producing more creative and safer products," Huang Guanghui, manager of Liuyang Yihelong Fireworks Manufacturing Co. says.
Besides the safety concerns, the air pollution in northern China in recent years has also impacted the fireworks trade. Many people are calling for an end to firecrackers in a bid for cleaner air. Beijing has banned fireworks celebrations if serious air pollution is forecast for the holidays.
The ban will take effect if orange or red alert for air pollution is issued. In order to check how much the fireworks will affect the air quality in northern China, the local government has been conducting experiments.
"We haven't finished our experiments yet, but so far, the figure does show that it will increase the air pollution when setting off firecrackers. But it will not increase the density of PM 2.5, because the fireworks produce large particles. I think it's ok to ban the fireworks during the holidays. But the fireworks are not the major cause of the smog," Huang Chaxiang, Directr of Liuyang Fireworks Inspection Bureau, says.
In recent years, electronic fireworks have become popular with people who wish to celebrate the holiday, but are hesitant to purchase traditional fireworks. Statistics from Taobao, China's biggest e-commerce website, showed that the sales volume for electronic fireworks in the week after the new year went up by 149.3 percent compared to the same period last year.
"Liuyang's fireworks are famous around the world. We have cooperated with each other for many years. We buy different kinds of fireworks, both the traditional ones and these electronic ones," Yankovskiy Sergey of Corsair Fireworks says.
Chinese people love fireworks. And if the fireworks industry is to improve, the business needs to be more regulated and never technologies introduced to modernize this traditional industry.