THE PORTUGUESE government rarely makes exceptions, however, contrary to last year, it is prohibiting the use of all types of fireworks this summer. It is mainly a preventative measure against forest fires and people who infringe this law will be subject to heavy fines.
The Portuguese Association of Pyrotechnic Industries (APIR) estimate that the new law could mean a loss of around eight to 10 thousand jobs in the sector. “Fireworks represent 80 per cent of our production, therefore, it’s only natural that we have to get rid of the same amount of workers,” said Carlos Macedo, president of APIR.
At the end of May of last year, the government gave thanks for the many millions of euros that the pyrotechnic industries invested in improving safety measures for workers and manufacturing systems, therefore, many see this new law as a betrayal. Carlos Macedo spoke of a “violent stab in the back. This dishonesty has wasted us 14 months of work”.
The Director General of Forests furthered this point by stating that the government is not getting to the source of the problem, as apparently none of the forest fires last year were caused by the use of fireworks.
In addition to the fireworks ban, the government recently approved the promotion of active management of forests, in order to increase education campaigns and encourage the population to act sensibly. A more efficient reaction to fires was also imposed by the government, increasing the amount of resources needed for immediate intervention.