Despite lots of warnings over the risks of setting off private fireworks, and bans on them in central urban areas, 16 people suffered severe eye injuries on New Year’s Eve. Now some political parties want to ban them entirely.
The cities’ major public fireworks displays aren’t enough for those who insist on setting off their own fireworks as well. Many Norwegians even drive over the border to Sweden, where they’re cheaper and more plentiful, and illegally bring them home to Norway.
Dr Nils Bull of Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen gathers statistics about fireworks injuries every year from hospitals all over the country. He told news bureau NTB that this year’s total of 16 is up from just nine last year. Five of the cases were considered serious.
None of those injured was wearing the protective eyewear that health care professionals and police had recommended. Men were overrepresented in the statistics, accounting for 12 of the cases.
The new round of injuries prompted the Liberal Party’s youth group to renew calls for a ban on private firework in Norway. “It’s absurd that it’s okay to play with explosives on the evening of the year when alcohol consumption is also highest,” Sondre Hansmark, leader of Unge Venstre, wrote in a press release. He thinks only certified pyro-technicians should be allowed to send up fireworks.