Urban smog cancels China's Lantern Festival fireworks

Feb. 14, 2014 at 4:23 PM
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BEIJING, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Traditional fireworks Friday will not be a part of China's Lantern Festival this year because severe smog is shrouding Chinese cities, officials said.

The Lantern Festival fireworks, typically a part of a 2,000 year-old tradition at the end of the 15-day Lunar New Year, will not be lighting the Beijing skyline because the city is enveloped in an air quality index of Level 5, meaning heavily polluted, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported Friday.

Fireworks have been banned in the city of Taiyuan and restricted to only a few villages far from downtown, Xinhua said.

Shen Haobo, manager of a fireworks factory in Jianxi province, estimated a 40 percent drop in his company's sales this year.

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