The Search-and-rescue teams income from firework sales this New Year’s celebrations amount to about 800 million ISK ($6,284,368, €5,133,470), about 10-15% increase since last year, RÚV reports. The director of The Icelandic Association For Search And Rescue Þór Þorsteinsson says it would be irresponsible of authorities to cut this funding source, without making it up in some other way.
Last night was January 6, Twelfth night, the end of legal fireworks sales, which can only be sold from December 28-January 6. ICE-SAR representatives are happy with sales this year. “In total, it seems to have gone very well. There’s been a decline in sales for the past two or three years but now there seems to have been a 10-15% increase. So the Search-and-rescue teams’ net revenue from fireworks sales this year could be around 800 million,” stated Þór.
A significant amount of pollution was recorded in the capital area this New Ears’ Eve as the weather was still. “Yes, we are aware that fireworks cause pollution, as with so many other things, said Þór. “But we were even expecting there to be more pollution than there turned out to be and one possible explanation is that there were no bonfires this New Year’s Eve. They pollute as well.”
Authorities intend to change the way fireworks are sold, to lessen the negative effects on the public’s health and air quality due to air pollution. A workgroup has suggested that the period of legal fireworks sales be shortened by a few days and that larger fireworks will only be permitted on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s day and Twelfth Night. The changes were postponed due to the pandemic but the Ministry of Justice is yet to confirm that the rules will be changed in time for next year.
“We aren’t advocating for fireworks sales per se, but we do need the revenue and we are a pretty large part of the nation’s emergency response. And we do think it’s irresponsible to make suggestions to cut fireworks sales, our way of funding our operations unless there’s something to replace it,” stated Þór.