Bonn The Hornbach DIY chain has announced a sales ban on New Year fireworks, which will take effect from next year. In Rheinbach, fireworks can no longer be bought at all known locations. Will Bonn retailers like Knauber follow suit?
For many people, New Year's Eve fireworks are part of New Year. However, they have an enormous impact on the environment, which environmentalists in particular repeatedly emphasise. On the first day of the new year, the concentration of airborne particulate matter in many places is the highest of the whole year: According to the Federal Environment Agency, about 4,500 tonnes of particulate matter are released on New Year's Eve. This amount corresponds to about 15.5 per cent of the annual amount of particulate matter emitted by road traffic. During New Year’s Eve, Germans blow between 100 and 150 million euros worth of fireworks into the air.
This could soon be over: The Hornbach DIY chain has announced that it will no longer sell fireworks from the end of 2020. “We are still selling them this year in Germany and Austria, but after that we will stop sales everywhere,” said a spokesperson for the group on Monday in response to an enquiry by Rheinische Post. This affects 96 stores in Germany and 14 stores in Austria. In the remaining European markets, rockets and firecrackers have already been removed from the product range. The fact that sales will not be discontinued this year is due to long-term contracts with suppliers.
Bonn chains leave decision open
Firework bans are no longer a rarity: Throughout Germany, increasingly more retailers, including individual Edeka and Rewe food retailers, are refraining from selling fireworks due to the environment and reasons of animal protection. These are independent entrepreneurs who are not subject to any group control.
Most DIY stores and discounters in Bonn are still offering New Year's Eve fireworks this year. The Edeka stores Mohr, Vogl and Bachem responded when asked that they will sell New Year's Eve fireworks until the end of this year. An employee of Edeka Bachem said that although they have discussed stopping sales in other stores, no concrete plans for the coming year have yet been made.
The Bonn branches of Knauber and Bauhaus will also continue to sell New Year's Eve fireworks this year. The press spokesman of the Rewe Group, Andreas Krämer, explained that Rewe Group stores will offer New Year's Eve products. However, Rewe retailers are free to decide whether they want to sell fireworks in their supermarkets or not.
A decision against firework sales has already been made in Rheinbach. The Rheinbach Obi-Markt will not sell New Year's Eve rockets this year. Store manager Jörg Thrun has a sign at the entrance with the following statement: “For the sake of the environment and animals, we have decided not to sell fireworks this year. Your Obi-Team.”
“We discussed the issue and then made the decision for the Rheinbach site,” Thrun told the GA. This decision was also the result of many discussions with the dog owners among the customers, because the fireworks scare off many pets. The fine-dust pollution associated with the fireworks also played a role. So far the feedback from customers has been positive. “This strengthens us in our decision”, says Thrun, who can also imagine not selling fireworks in the coming years.
Company boss Christian Fassbender wants to let customers decide whether fireworks will be sold in the future. In the Obi in Oedekoven, these are still available. “On the one hand the impact on the environment is indisputable; on the other hand, fireworks are a pleasure for many people”, says Fassbender
German Environmental Agency is calling for a firework ban in NRW
Environmentalists in particular have attempted in recent months to at least ban firecrackers from city centres. The German Environmental Agency is calling for a nationwide ban on fireworks. Most cities in North Rhine-Westphalia, however, reject a general ban on firecrackers and rockets on New Year's Eve.
(Original text; Vanessa Rheinschmidt, translation John Chandler)