MANILA, Philippines, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- New Year's fireworks displays in Manila created so much smoke airlines were forced to cancel flights, Philippine officials said.
GMA News reported the air pollution also presented a problem for people with asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
On the plus side, health officials said this year's celebration produced significantly fewer firecracker-related injuries, the Philippines broadcaster said. Health Secretary Enrique Ona said 476 fireworks-related injuries were recorded by 6 a.m. Sunday. The department had said in a news release in late November that there had been 1,022 injuries during the 2010 New Year's revelry.
GMA News said visibility had been reduced to zero in Manila on New Year's Eve, forcing airports to shut down their runways until 9 a.m. Sunday. Some airlines canceled and delayed flights even after the runways reopened.
Officials said while there were fewer fireworks set off this year, the smoke lingered because of dry weather and calm winds.