Should fireworks be banned?

El Salvador's government is considering a ban on the production and sale of fireworks. There were a reported 140 people who had to be treated in hospitals for burns caused by fireworks between December 24 and January 1, down 30% from the year before. As a ban on the fireworks is considered, El Faro placed on its website a photo gallery of stark images of many victims.

An article in ContraPunto highlights the difficult decision. According to the article, there are at least 269 shops making fireworks throughout the country. The Association of Salvadoran Fireworks Producers estimates that some 400,000 persons in the country who receive some income from the production and sale of fireworks. In a country with a scarcity of jobs, eliminating an industry, even one with the dangers of fireworks, is not attractive.

I'm back. A busy schedule at work kept me from posting recently, but I should be back to regular updates.


Anonymous said…
One of the most important things to remember here--and which you left out--is that fireworks worshops often employ CHILDREN. Yes, I know there are arguments against simply shutting down child labor without giving the children other alternatives. Yet there is widespread agreement on eliminating the WORST forms of child labor. That category includes dangerous activities. Given that child workers regularly die when the informal workshops burn down, this is obviously one of the worst forms of child labor!

If fireworks are to be produced in El Salvador, it should be done by adults in factories that are regularly inspected to insure safety. This would make them more expensive, of course.
Hodad said…
after living there[El Sal] many years
seeing always casualties
and working on getting them banned on the the beach here in Myrtle Beach

they should be banned
El-Visitador said…
Pfff. Absurd.

You know what my father always did: he never bought firecrackers nor high-powered pyrotechnics for us. I think he is a smart man and a great parent.

You cannot legislate common sense. It's a slippery slope to totalitarism. If you abridge fireworks, maybe you should also ban trans-fats (bye pupusas!). While you are at it, why not ban sugar? (avoid the epidemic of diabetes).

Come to think of it, TV should be banned. I mean, kids end up wasting their lives in front of stupid Mexican shows!

Tell you what: let's ban candy, skateboards, bikes, and marbles. All of these have caused child deaths!

I say let's get it over and see if the Ruskies can revive Stalin and ship him over. He'll eliminate all of those improductive and dangerous activities and put us to work.
Anonymous said…
of course fireworks should not be banned. it"s part of salvadoran culture to light up firecrackers and all sorts of fireworks, my favorites were silvadores, for xmas. it"s another part of the hype surrounding the holidays. i think the necessary measures for safety should be put into place and practiced, as well as educating the public on being safe and all. but overall, fireworks are fun, they"re dangerous but fun, so people should be able to enjoy them if they so please.

viva chalate!!!
Anonymous said…
Viva el mercado libre/Long Live the Free Market. We can blow up, burn, and disfigure children and adults. Maybe Stalin should be revived and sent to El Salvador b/c Milton Friedman and da Chicago Boys have done an every so wonderful job in Russia
Anonymous said…
I don't think it's an issue of "common sense" as one of the comments below reads. Having lived in ES several years, I know how much people looked forward to this time of year in which they could spend money on something, not for need or sustenance, but purely to indulge. Everyone needs to feel that once in a while. But doing it through fireworks is unsafe and in ES largely unmonitored. It's scary. My husband, a Salvadorean, tells stories about his uncles handing him a lit cigarrette as a kid so that he could light a continuous stream of fireworks (this is how he also learned to smoke from a very young age). There just seems to be an attitude of "it's once a year, let go, have fun, indulge." Indulgence and fire just shouldn't go together.
I don't see how they could monitor it though. There are bigger fish to fry in ES. And it's not largely affecting the kids in the Western suburbs of ES, so people can continue to make the excuse that it's their faults for not having "common sense."
Hodad said…
actaully it IS a 'common sense/sentido comun'issue
that of which there is just not much of in Latinolandia
just how it is, the macho culture from Spain
maybe 200 more years
ok, i retract
banned fireworks 'except ' for xmas time
[but has anyone else seen the foot deep paper in the capital streets of these countries December 26th?]
at least scoop it up and compost it!
Anonymous said…
Isn't it slightly condescending to suggest there is not much common sense in Latin America? If there weren't regulations in the States, there would be a lot more accidents involving fireworks there too.
Hodad said…
nope, not condescending one bit
after 35 years in business and travels there
sometimes one gets tired of the 'get the gringo' just a cultural thing no disrespect
'fix it when it breaks is quite strong evidence of 'no sentido comun'
we put a man on the moon, not Latinolandia


read the emergency room stats after xmas in ES
here they are banned mostly, forest fires, etc,burned buildings, trash on the beach small bits of plastic everywhere!
violators are severely punished here even in Myrtle Beach with a gazillion gd fireworks store
they are sold for folks to return home and set off in their yards, sans local ordinances

but no more on the beach
and the daily shows at the Pavilion are under professional supervision

not 10 yo's setting of 'silbaras'

hate those things

except July 4th
one day to set off this crap, remembrances of war
invented by Chinese to aggravate and drive away demons
Anonymous said…
Fuck no, they outlawed Morteros already and rightly so. The 3 foot bombs people would let off near bus stops to celebrate. For once I agree with el Visitador. Leave the fireworks alone. Common sense.
There will always be news about burnt fingers do to the density of the population.
Tim said…
In many ways, this debate is similar to the debate over gold mining in El Salvador, because it is partly a debate over whether the government can regulate harmful effects of an industry without eliminating its potential benefits. If you don't believe the government can effectively improve the safety of the fireworks industry, you might be inclined to ban it despite the impact on family traditions and the income of tens of thousands of people. If you don't believe the government can effectively regulate gold mining to mitigate its adverse environmental impacts, you will be inclined to ban it, despite the possibility of revenues, jobs and investment it might bring.

El Visitador and Hodad26 are at least consistent in both instances. E-V would permit gold mines and fireworks factories and Hodad26 would ban them both.
Anonymous said…
Fireworks have been there forever. I can only imagine how hard it would be for the police to track this down if it was illegal. It is simply not going to happen. We should banning guns here in the US but we don't so don't come overhere saying we should get rid of something that's been there for many many years now. This is part of who we are, our culture, this is the way we have fun... Let it be...
Hodad said…
as i said,let them sell them and use them, one day only for celebrate NOT all the time but actually they are not used in El Sal all the time
i juts hurts to see the stats on kids at emergency clinics the day after xmas
on someone's private land,home etc. and NOT in the streets
in the 80's in Central America they were also used to act as cover for small arms fire in certain situations in Guatemala and CR and Nicaragua borders I know
[bad trip down bummer
fuck you very much]
as far as gold mines, only a few jobs, is all vs the degradation again common sense
you want polluted waters for years and birth defects etc
I would think not

two different issues
fireworks factories REGULATED and not near any houses
and certainly NOT under age employees

gold mines for nada!
Anonymous said…
I know that El Salvador's government is trying to ban the production of fireworks because of the many injuries that have occured. But I do not believe that they should be banned, fireworks are apart of your custom. They are an enjoyable entertainment that many people love to watch. Instead of baning fireworks, i think that the Government should be enforcing the rules, and safety tips to follow to help prevent accidents, and other injuries form occuring.

I also believe that the Government should enforce other rules, and laws where children and other teenages should only be handling fireworks under adult supervision. This will insure that there is more safety.
Anonymous said…
firewaors are cool