ALERT: City of Durban warns of 'big bang' fireworks at Diwali festival

2017-10-17 08:36 - Unathi Nkanjeni
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Cape Town - With the Hindu festival of lights, Diwali, around the corner, the City of Durban is urging all those who will be celebrating the festival to avoid 'big bang fireworks, which are now forbidden.

Diwali is a Hindu festival celebrated throughout the world and this year, it is observed on Thursday, 19 October. 

SEE: Festival of lights: Celebrate Diwali in SA and beyond

The City of Durban says low-hazard fireworks such as fountains, lawn lights, and sparkles are allowed and can be lit in homes.

The SA Hindu Maha Sabha says fireworks should only be lit during the allowed hours.

"The Maha Sabha has, for the past three years, appealed to the community to exercise restraint when it comes to the use of fireworks," says Ashwin Trikamjee, President of the organisation.

"We have always called for a ban on big bangs and we persist with that approach. We have asked people to report to us fireworks stockists that sell big bangs so we can notify the authorities. It is illegal."

Use of illegal fireworks and the fine it cost

In the spirit of Diwali, those who will be celebrating the festival are kindly advised that it is illegal to ignite fireworks near animals, old-age homes, hospitals, petrol stations, and petrol depots.

The fine for the illegal use of fireworks ranges from R500 to R1 500. 

Fireworks display permission has to be obtained in writing from the fireworks working committee or from the chief fire officer in a particular region.

Permission also has to be obtained to let off crackers in private yards. In the application, the person has to outline the plan of the house, including any overhead pylons. A site inspection by the emergency management services will also be conducted.

Those planning their own fireworks shows are urged to keep in mind the dangers inherent in their use, and to remember safety tips:

Pick a site that is appropriate for lighting the crackers
Safety is a priority and clothes must be resistant to fire
Set up the display during daylight hours
Check the wind direction before starting the display
Pick up all the remains of the fireworks and keep them out of children's reach

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