There’s probably no more iconic part of Chinese New Year festivities than fireworks. Even countries far removed from China, such as the UK, make special allowances for people to blow things up in celebration. China produces 90 percent of the world’s fireworks and they’re loathe to celebrate the Spring Festival without them. These colorful explosions do have their downsides—in 2012, fireworks caused nearly 6,000 accidents on the first day of celebrations alone. An even more pressing issue is air pollution. China’s smog problem has made headlines for breaking records in all the wrong ways and millions of people exploding gunpowder at the same time is the sort of thing that really doesn’t help. If the air pollution levels in Beijing are classified as orange or red on the country’s warning scale come the 31st of January, people won’t be allowed to use fireworks at all.
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