Espoo goes firework-free for New Year, as citizen’s initiative seeks ban

Can celebrations go off with a bang if there's no pyrotechnics? Thousands of people, at least, agree that it's possible.

Fireworks on sale in a Helsinki supermarket, December 2018 / Credit: News Now Finland

Finland’s second largest city has decided not to celebrate the New Year with a bang – at least, when it comes to fireworks.

Espoo will put on a laser show for New Year’s Eve, lighting up the Espoonjoki River instead.

It’s the first time in a while the city has put on a public celebration on 31st December but city leaders felt the time was right to bring it back – but without pyrotechnics.

“At present, we do not see traditional fireworks as the right choice considering their environmental impact, so we will try something completely new” says Lea Rintala, Espoo’s Manager of Event and Cultural Services.

“We want to stay true to the city’s values and lead the way in a more sustainable way of celebrating New Year’s Eve and event culture” she says.

Fireworks on sale at a Helsinki supermarket, December 2018 / Credit: News Now Finland

Citizens’ initiative seeks firework ban

Espoo’s firework-free celebration comes as almost 43,000 people signed a citizens’ initiative to get parliament to vote on a bill to ban most fireworks.

The initiative was only launched at the beginning of December, and aims to “reduce the inconvenience of fireworks to humans, animals and nature” by prohibiting certain kinds of pyrotechnics.

While fireworks are on sale in many supermarkets at this time of year, to be used at New Year celebrations, at least one Helsinki store is taking a stand against it.

The K-Supermarket in Redi shopping centre says it won’t be selling any fireworks this year.

“We have decided not to sell fireworks. At New Year, many dogs are frightened and are afraid of fireworks. There are a lot of dog owners in Kalasatama, so we want to make their situation easier in the new year. The environmental impact of fireworks is, in our opinion, not very sensible, too” the store managers wrote on Facebook.