When Italy sees in the New Year, some if the nation’s population never see the new year they were celebrating. Hundreds of Italians are injured by fireworks. Animals die in droves. This year was different though.
Italy’s steps to reduce the nation’s New Year’s firework addiction appear to be having an effect.
Although two people did lose their lives in Italy’s south and hundreds were injured throughout Italy, the number of injuries fell significantly compared to last year. This year, around 360 people in Italy were injured by fireworks. Last year, the figure was 561.
In the late 2012 post New Year period when children and others set off fireworks on Italy’s streets, the number of serious injuries fell from 35 to 29.
Why the reduction?
Quite simple – a number of Italian cities banned fireworks, while others, such as fireworks addicted Naples, educated their citizens into taking more care when using fireworks. Italy’s police played their part too, seizing as they always do in this period, literally tonnes of illegal fireworks.
Here in Milan, in Italy’s north where I live, city hall told citizens to go easy with the fireworks and they did. The usual post-midnight barrage did not seem to last as long as last year’s.
Not Fireworks, but Bombs
Some of Italy’s so-called fireworks have to be seen to be believed. These are not designed to light up the sky with multicolored patterns. Instead these football-sized objects are designed to make the loudest possible bangs. Their achieve their deafening ends by using explosive – more than enough to kill, maim and cause damage to buildings. They are not fireworks, they are bombs and Italians love the things. Talk about playing with fire.
Fireworks Kill Animals in Italy
It’s not only humans who are hurt by Italy’s fireworks. Italian pets and other animals suffer greatly too. New Year’s celebrations cause the premature deaths of thousands of animals. Last year, around 500 dogs and cats died on during New Year’s festivities. This year, the figure so far is around 240.
Whereas I usually let off a few fireworks for the kids, this year I did not bother. My 9 year old son did not complain as he was keen to protect our dog from the effects of fireworks – yes, he too had seen the messages transmitted by Italy’s media on the harmful effects of fireworks on the health of our furry friends.
In the periods before Christmas and the New Year in 2012, attempts were made to draw attention to just how many pets are killed by fireworks every year.
Are Italians are starting to heed the warnings? Or is it simply that crisis-hit Italians did not want to burn too much money on fireworks this year?
Let’s see what happens next year – if, that is, Italy is starting to shake off the effects of global economic gloom.