BEIJING • The Beijing city government has told officials to lead by example and not set off fireworks or firecrackers to welcome the Chinese New Year to help prevent smog, after the city was blanketed in choking smog earlier this month.
The festive holiday period, which began on Chinese New Year's Eve yesterday, is normally marked by riotous displays of fireworks and countless firecrackers, which are thought to bring good luck and scare off evil spirits.
But, in recent years, with public concerns about air pollution mounting, the government has tried to limit the use of pyrotechnics.
The fireworks blacken the skies with smoke for hours, while firecrackers produce a large amount of pollutants when set off.
In a statement released late on Thursday, the Beijing city government said officials must "take the lead" in not setting off fireworks or firecrackers.
"Have firm environmental protection consciousness and a sense of responsibility," it added. "Proactively guide family members and friends not to let off or to limit the letting off of fireworks and firecrackers, improve air quality together and get into the action of ensuring blue skies for the capital."