Germany: Medics and police against fireworks on New Year’s Eve

The German police union, along with medical and environmental associations, demanded that fireworks be banned throughout the country this coming New Year’s Eve.

Their main argument, Spiegel Online says, is that hospitals are already overwhelmed by covid, so the influx of trauma patients will put an additional burden on doctors. In Germany, such decisions have so far been made point-by-point, at the level of individual cities. About 40 of them have long banned exploding firecrackers and holding private fireworks shows on the night of December 31 to January 1 in historic districts, including pedestrian zones and medieval earthen ramparts, gardens and parks, squares in front of town halls and cathedrals. Violators face fines of up to € 10,000. Initially, the authorities attributed the harsh measures to the fight against the release of particulate matter into the atmosphere and increased stress for animals and birds. Then the “crown” factor was connected. Medical teams already have to work in two shifts, so doctors and nursing staff are often deprived of the opportunity to celebrate with their families.

The Berlin Hospital for Emergency Surgery admits that usually on the night of January 1, dozens of victims of pyrotechnics come to them, sometimes it is about life and death. Contusions, burns to the face and hands, fractures and severed fingers are what you have to deal with. Ophthalmologist Andreas Roiland says that from year to year after New Year’s Eve, about 500 patients with eye injuries come to him, about a hundred cases are serious. As a rule, the situation is aggravated by alcohol – “under steam” citizens lose coordination and cease to observe safety measures.

Some municipalities have already updated the bans for the upcoming New Year. For example, in Berlin, Alexanderplatz and part of one of the streets in the crowded Schöneberg district have been declared fireworks-free zones. In student Göttingen, it will not be possible to blow up firecrackers near half-timbered houses, as well as within a radius of 200 meters from churches, nursing homes and hospitals. In Bremen, the ban also affected the territories of the zoo and the airport.

In this sense, the Germans are invited to follow the example of the neighboring Netherlands, where for the second year in a row a complete ban on the launch of pyrotechnics is being introduced. In Amsterdam, the New Year’s celebration was canceled, the ban also affected the launch of all kinds of pyrotechnics. “New Year’s celebrations organized by the municipality will not take place this year. The mayor decided to cancel both the main celebration at the Museum Square and the fireworks show in different parts of the city, ”the city council of Amsterdam reported the gloomy news. They admit that they are not in a position to predict how the situation with the pandemic will develop further, but already now it is necessary to draw up an estimate for the holiday.

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