Vietnam considers allowing "quiet' fireworks next Lunar New Year

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Rubbish left over from firecrackers set off last Lunar New Year (Tet) in Gia Loc Town, Hai Duong Province. Vietnam's Ministry of Public Security has planned to allow people buy and set off quiet fireworks next Tet.

Vietnam's Ministry of Public Security plans to allow people to buy and set off quiet fireworks on an individual basis for the 2014 Lunar New Year's festival. The production, trade and use of firecrackers were outlawed in Vietnam 18 years ago.

The regulation of fireworks and firecrackers will be slightly altered to allow the public to buy and use quiet fireworks for Tet, said Major-General Tran Van Ve, deputy director of the Ministry of Public Security's administrative management of social order department.

"Several experiments showed that these [fireworks] are safe, do not make loud bangs and do not [negatively] affect the environment," Ve was quoted by Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) as saying in its Tuesday (May 21) report.

"We let the sparks touch our hands and did not get hurt," he said.

In a recent meeting with Ve's agency and relevant authorities, Colonel Nguyen Khac Hoi, director of a state-owned Z121 Factory, said these fireworks create lighting and modest sound effects but do not explode like those associated with major fireworks shows.

Hoi said the Z121 Factory has a monopoly on the production and distribution of fireworks and has so far produced and successfully tested around 10 types of quiet fireworks, akin to sparklers.

But Ve said Z121 must obtain quality and safety certifications from the government before the ministry makes way for such fireworks to be sold in the market and used widely.

Trinh Hoa Binh, director of the Center for Public Opinion Studies said setting off firecrackers, a long-standing Vietnamese tradition, is illegal out of concern for public safety.

"But public awareness and control of fireworks [including firecrackers] have been improved so [the government] should consider allowing them during Tet," Binh said.

Statistics from the social order management department showed that the illegal trade of firecrackers especially those produced in China has been a complex issue for years, with more than 200 cases of violations handled and hundreds of tons of firecrackers seized nationwide every year.

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Cong An Nhan Dan (People's Police) newspaper quoted the department as saying 100 tons of illegal firecrackers were confiscated in Vietnam last year alone, while illegal firecrackers injured more than 60 people during the last Tet.

Just last month, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung demanded chairman of People's Committees in the northern provinces of Ha Giang, Hai Duong and Lao Cai punish agencies and officials that ignored illegal firecrackers activity during the 2013 Lunar New Year's Festival.

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