Public Advised to Prepare for a Smoky New Years Eve
By Wendy Osher
Oahu could be in store for a smokier than usual New Years Eve. That’s because a partial fireworks ban is set to go into effect on January 2nd, 2011, one day after the New Year’s Holiday. The ban puts an end to nevelty items like sparklers and paperless firecrackers in Honolulu, but allows for the purchase of $25 permits to buy up to 5,000 firecrackers for specified holidays and celebrations.
The partial fireworks ban was passed by the Honolulu City Council earlier this year. The Honolulu law was passed after former Governor Linda Lingle signed a bill into law giving individual counties the authority to set fireworks use restrictions. Here on Maui, permitting for firecracker use is already in effect, but there is no ban on novelty items, which remain legal to use in Maui County.
The state Department of Health will be monitoring air quality at several sites statewide during the New Year’s Holiday. The results, including data from a monitoring facility in Kihei on Maui, will be compared with national ambient air quality standards.
Those with lung conditions or breathing issues are advised to take precautionary measures during the New Year’s celebration. Health officials say heavy use of fireworks can significantly increase the amount of particulates in the air, aggravating conditions such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis.
The Department of Health advises those with breathing conditions to stay indoors, use an air conditioner or air purifier with a clean filter, and keep an adequate supply of medication on hand. Drinking lots of water or warm beverages help to loosen mucus created by breating in particulate matter.