SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The cabinet confirmed on Friday that it will not press ahead with a ban on firecrackers and rockets because the New Year fireworks are ‘a valued tradition’, health minister and deputy prime minister Hugo de Jonge said after the weekly cabinet meeting.
Banning certain types of fireworks would be ‘punishing the good along with the bad’, de Jonge, who was standing in for the prime minister, is quoted as saying by website Nu.nl.
However, ministers have agreed to implement several other recommendations. For example, firework sellers will be required to provide their customers with free protective glasses and secure supports for setting off rockets, the minister said.
And the punishment for attacking emergency service workers would also be increased in separate legislation, the minister said.
Last year the Dutch safety board OVV said firecrackers and rockets should be banned during the New Year’s Eve celebrations in order to cut back on injuries and damage to property.
Some 500 people end up at accidents and emergency departments with serious injuries during the New Year’s Eve celebrations, making it the most dangerous time of the year in many places, the board said.
A spokesman for the Dutch national police union told broadcaster NOS the firework lobby has ‘won again’. The New Year festivities are an enormous risk for the police and present a ‘gigantic problem’, he said.
‘The police have to deal with a large group of people who have been drinking or talking drugs, all carrying fireworks,’ he said. (DutchNews)