Many incidents have taken place on the Old Continent.
Thehe pyrotechnic devices handled by individuals have led to many serious incidents in various European countries during New Year’s Eve. Two deaths have been recorded in France and Italy, while in Germany, a devastating fire in a zoo is probably due to Chinese lanterns.
A 30-year-old man was killed in Haguenau (Bas-Rhin, eastern France) by the explosion of a mortar-type device. Other incidents related to the handling of home explosives left 50 people injured, often with hands or eyes. Twenty minors are among the victims, the youngest being 4 years old. Two people will have final consequences.
In Italy, the pyrotechnic festivities are only indirectly linked to the death of a 27-year-old man in Ascoli Piceno, in the Marche region (south-east). The young man succumbed to his injuries by falling into a ravine a hundred meters away. He was looking to put out the start of a fire caused by fireworks. Eleven people were nevertheless seriously affected, notably due to the explosion of firecrackers.
In Germany, at least 30 monkeys died in the fire at the Krefeld Zoo in the west. Firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading to other zoo buildings, which, however, suffered significant damage, amounting to several million euros, he said. According to the first elements of the investigation, the fire was caused by flying Chinese lanterns, which have been banned in this region since 2009.
The Germans are particularly fond of New Year’s Eve fireworks and high-powered firecrackers. In Berlin alone, emergency services on Wednesday recorded 22 hand injuries, some of which resulted in amputations. A balance roughly in line with previous years.
The atmospheric footprint gives rise to debates
The atmospheric footprint of these firecrackers, fireworks and flying lanterns is also causing debate, in a country increasingly sensitive to the climate emergency. New Year’s Eve fireworks in Germany release some 5,000 tonnes of fine particles into the air in one night, as much as about two months of road traffic, according to the Federal Agency for UBA environment.
Several brands, belonging to the Rewe or Edeka chains, had decided to ban fireworks from their shelves this year. One of the big DIY stores in the country, Hornbach, will ban pyrotechnics from 2020. Same story with rival Bauhaus which plans to rethink its fireworks offer next year “taking into account the environment “.
The impact on the environment was also visible in certain French departments neighboring Germany. The fires and firecrackers of New Years in Strasbourg and its surroundings notably contributed the local authorities to launch an alert to the pollution with fine particles in six departments of the Great East.
Fireworks in the Netherlands also did damage, with dozens of victims coming to hospital for injuries of varying degrees. Two opposition parties, GroenLinks and the PvdD (Partij voor de Dieren), plead for a ban on fireworks especially since they are sometimes used as projectiles to target members of the emergency services in full intervention, points out the president of GroenLinks, Jesse Klaver.