The Malta Independent 17 October 2019, Thursday

Updated: April Fool's - Noisy petards set to be banned as from 2020

Monday, 1 April 2019, 07:48 Last update: about 8 months ago

It was, unfortunately, too good to be true, as some remarked in their comments.

The idea that noisy petards are banned was welcomed almost across the board, except of course by fireworks enthusiasts and their supporters.

But, so far, it remains an idea that served for our April Fool's joke this year.

We do hope, however, that it is taken up.

Maybe, one day, it will become a reality.

***

This was our story

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The coming summer festa season will be the last to include noisy petards if proposals to be made public in the coming days are implemented.

The proposals to reform the Fireworks Ordnance are set to drastically change the present scenario which sees a mixture of noisy petards which, year in year out, lead to complaints, and colourful displays and ground fireworks which are more welcome by the general population.

What is to be proposed is the total elimination of the noisy blasts that shake buildings, scare animals and wake up people in deep sleep. These normally start as early as 8am in villages and towns celebrating the feast of their patron saint, and go on well into the night.

Petards are seen by enthusiasts as a mainstay of fireworks celebrations, but are mostly a nuisance to others, particularly sick and elderly people, adults who work shifts and would like to rest, and babies.

Many years ago, petards were used mostly by villagers to “indicate” to nearby localities that their village is celebrating the feast of their patron saint. Historians say that the culture was aimed to “tease” other towns and villages nearby.

But society evolved into what it is today, with variations to the work-life balance, more awareness about people’s different needs and a growing consciousness on the effects of noise pollution suggesting that the situation regarding fireworks also must change.

This has led to the drawing up of new regulations covering fireworks which is set to be published in the coming days. Noisy petards are to be eliminated completely and, as compensation, fireworks enthusiasts will be allowed a wider berth in the preparation of colourful displays and ground fireworks.

The publication of the proposals will be followed by a public consultation exercise before a final decision is taken and the necessary amendments are passed through Parliament. The idea is to have the new system in place by the start of next year’s feasts, the first, as always, being St Paul’s Shipwreck in Valletta on 10 February.

 

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