The Philippine Department of Health has announced this morning (at 6am on New Year’s Day) that firework-related injuries are down by 60% on last year. While this is obviously good news, it does beg the question: “Why on earth are fireworks still for sale in the Philippines at all?”
— PH Lifestyle News (@PhilippinesLN) January 1, 2017
What is even more worrying is the fact that 55% of firework-related injuries were suffered by children under the age of 15. This raises some obvious questions about parental supervision… and how it is that such young children were able to gain access to explosive devices in the first place?
Some developed nations have banned the sale of fireworks to the general public altogether. Others, such as the UK, have banned so-called “pocket money fireworks” – meaning that any firework is a fairly serious grown-up “investment” and so is unlikely to be misused. (I mean, you’re not going to spend $100 on a giant rocket, and then give it to your young child with to play with in the garden). And anyway, everywhere in the “sensible world”, the trend is to encourage large, organised public displays detonated safely by professionals.
Meanwhile, in the Philippines, of the 350 injuries, 348 related to burns and two related to ingestion… Hang on, “ingestion”? Two people were treated at hospital for eating fireworks? Wow.
It is pretty clear that the people of the Philippines just can’t be trusted with fireworks. (Or with supervising their children? Or encouraging them not to eat fireworks? The mind boggles.)
This is an incredibly easy problem to fix, but the government seems to have little or no desire to sort it out. There’s been a lot of words, but very little action so far.