Czechia proposes stricter regulation of fireworks sales

Citing environmental and animal-welfare concerns, Czechia's agriculture minister has mooted restricting sales of pyrotechnics to young people. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 08.01.2024 12:28:00 (updated on 08.01.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Agriculture Minister Marek Výborný aims to significantly bolster regulations governing the sale and use of fireworks within the Czech Republic, citing a need to curb injuries as well as protect animal welfare.

Trying to phase out pyro

In a social media post Sunday, the cabinet member announced he had already discussed the issue with both Industry Minister Jozef Síkela and Environment Minister Petr Hladík, and will now seek to tighten relevant rules in parliament.

Výborný justified the regulatory push by pointing to cases where the irresponsible use of fireworks led to harm or death for animals.

As inspiration, the minister referenced Slovakia's stricter new law prohibiting the year-round sale and launch of firecrackers and other loud pyrotechnic products. This was implemented in the country recently.

On New Year's Eve, several regions nationwide – including parts of Prague center – banned the use of fireworks. The capital also canceled its annual fireworks show (which has not been running since 2020) due to environmental concerns. Hradec Králové and Pardubice followed Interior Minister Vít Rakušan's public plea to refrain from using fireworks on Dec. 31.

Restrictions on sales to children and young people

Similar restrictions on certain items could be adopted locally, with the potential for a narrower period allowed for personal use around major holidays like New Year's Eve.

Spelling out his aims, Výborný said he also wants to limit over-the-counter availability of all types of pyrotechnics to only those aged 18 (or 21) and older by restricting sales to specialized stores rather than regular shops and market stalls catering to a broader consumer base.

Across Europe, fireworks are graded into four categories under binding EU regulations based on each product's inherent risks. The most hazardous type intended for professional-only use requires pyrotechnic certification. Those as young as 15 can purchase items deemed less dangerous in some countries for categories with lower sound levels.

The Czech export market for fireworks reached an estimated CZK 233 million in 2019, positioning the country as the seventh-largest global supplier.

With 1.2 billion in exports, the Netherlands led all of Europe in this industry according to the report. In the future, Výborný's proposed restrictions aim to balance personal freedom with protecting citizens and wildlife from fireworks-linked harm.

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