DUH calls for nationwide NYE firework ban in Germany

DUH calls for nationwide NYE firework ban in Germany

Germany’s environmental action agency DUH has called on interior minister Nancy Faeser to ban New Year's Eve fireworks “once and for all”.

DUH calls for German firework ban

Environmental Action Germany (DUH) has demanded that the government introduce a ban on New Year fireworks. “With only a few simple changes to the Explosives Act, the home secretary could put an end to environmentally harmful fireworks,” DUH federal whip Jürgen Resch told RND. During the public holiday the popular use of fireworks, which release noxious particles, can greatly increase local pollution over a short period of time.

In his statement, Resch listed a number of other reasons why the organisation is calling for a firework ban on Silvester: “Thousands of tonnes of waste, millions of frightened and suffering animals, house fires and thousands of injured children and adults.” As an alternative to pyrotechnic displays, Rasch suggested that city councils should put on light and laser displays or drone shows.

Back in 2020, the German government imposed restrictions on New Year fireworks in an effort to minimise social contacts and curb the spread of coronavirus. The rules were different across the German federal states and cities, with most places imposing a ban in “busy streets and public squares”. If the DUH’s calls are taken seriously and a ban were imposed, it would once again be up to local authorities to outline their own specific rules.

In his plea, Resch also mentioned the growing number of Germans who support a firework ban, which he suggested could act as a mandate for introducing further government regulation. According to a YouGov survey conducted last year, around 66 percent of respondents agreed with the 2020 measures implemented by the federal and state governments, while only 27 percent indicated that they did not agree with the decision. 

Why are fireworks harmful to the environment?

An academic study published last year by the International Journal of Environment Research assessed the environmental impact of fireworks used during Independence Day celebrations in the United States. The study found that, at the event’s peak, smoke from the heavy usage of fireworks is comparable to that of wildfires. The smoke that fireworks produce following their brief pyrotechnic outbursts includes particulate matter - air-based solids and liquids which can trigger asthma and contribute to respiratory diseases.

Fireworks can also cause damage to wild animals’ natural habitats. According to the German Environmental Protection Agency (NABU), birds startled by fireworks often leave their nests for up to 14 days and can be separated from their roost.

In 2015, in the Königs Wusterhausen suburb of Berlin, a beaver reportedly drowned after a violent firework bang, and NABU warns that dead and injured animals are often found on New Year’s Day. Pets are also often fearful of the loud and sudden sounds created by continual firework explosions during the New Year period.

On top of this, every New Year, hospitals and emergency services see a spate of patients arriving with firework-related injuries, sometimes requiring limb amputations. Last year, a 20-year-old man was killed in Thuringia after setting a firework alight. 

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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