“The momentum for a blanket ban on fireworks is now in place.”

Uniformity in implementation. Fewer casualties and fewer riots in the streets. As well as more safety for firefighters, ambulance and police. Arjen Littooij, director of the Rotterdam-Rainmond district safety, wants to clarify the matter again on the eve of the debate in the House of Representatives about a general ban on fireworks. This ban must come. Everywhere, not only in Rotterdam or Randstad.

Littooij says he is speaking on behalf of all of his fellow managers in 25 security zones with his call for a complete firework ban, as called for by GroenLinks and Party for the Animals in the member’s special bill. Because all attempts to put an end to the New Year’s Eve fireworks misery, with bans on heavy fireworks or pyrotechnic glasses, have yielded nothing in recent years.

For two years it was relatively calm on New Year’s Eve. Thanks to the festoon operations, which meant there was a temporary ban on fireworks. But this is not the end of Parliament. The government parties CDA and VVD oppose such a complete ban, as is the case with the SP. They first want to see how the limited ban on fireworks, such as fireworks and torches, works in practice. Moreover, there is little support on the right. There, the fireworks are considered a Dutch cultural heritage, just like Zwarte Piet.

temporary ban

Both GroenLinks and Party for the Animals are supported by Littooij. It is among the 25 mayors of the most important cities in the Security Council. “Fireworks, also legal, have become a catalyst for unreasonable behaviour,” Nijmegen Mayor Hubert Burles has already reported to the Chamber of Deputies of those deliberations. Because, according to Burullus, it is precisely legitimate fireworks that cause the greatest number of casualties among civilians and aid workers. That’s why Burles wrote to the House that his Security Council supports this bill from GroenLinks and the Animal Party. Because all the measures that were taken previously “did not change the numbers.”

Littooij, who is responsible for deploying firefighters and ambulance workers to the Rotterdam area, has witnessed New Year’s festivities for the past ten years. He also saw how things went in the past two years when there were almost no fireworks due to Corona. “Over the past two years, the number of fire alarms here on New Year’s Eve has increased from seven hundred to three hundred. This is less than half. On New Year’s Eve, it was possible to control it on the street again. Before that, he stood idly by when he was on Paramedics have a choice between going out for a complicated emergency labor or a sleepy man on the street.” She was so busy that night that such choices had to be made. Impossible choices you don’t want to make, especially if you don’t have to. At first we needed a thousand cops on the street, and last year we only needed half of that.”

A number of parties in the House first want to know what will result from implementing the current fireworks ban.

“I’ve seen fireworks get heavier in ten years. More explosive, more professional, and therefore with more accident or fire risk. Also legal fireworks. It has become so explosive that it is irresponsible to allow someone to light it with a cigarette in hand and a glass of wine.” in the other hand. And then we can simply conclude that most of the accidents involved legal fireworks.”

“I also hear the call for better enforcement. But when almost everyone goes through the red light, there is no law enforcement. Well, if there is such a ban, we have seen it during Corona. In Rotterdam we received 180 reports per hour across 112 reports in The first hours after midnight, three reports per minute. Last New Year’s Eve that went back to 100, because Rotterdam is not a monastery at the turn of the year. In hospitals, the number of serious eye injuries has dropped to zero. “

However, this demand for a blanket ban on fireworks does not have the unanimous support of the House of Representatives

“She’s lying down Equally, so it will be tense. There is a call for municipalities to arrange this themselves, but this creates uncertainty. Rotterdam included such a ban in the APV [algemene plaatselijke verordening], but not the other municipalities in the area. Then you get the effect of the water bed. In such an AP, you can prohibit the start of fireworks, but not their purchase. The temporary ban on fireworks during Corona showed that it resulted in fewer casualties, fewer accidents and less damage compared to previous years. As a result, support for such a ban has increased among residents, politicians, and certainly among aid workers. The momentum for this ban is now in place.”

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