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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, December 28, 2002

Tone down fireworks for a mellow New Year

We're encouraged that fireworks sales have declined so far under a 3-year-old permit system, although nothing, really, will make them decline fast enough except for a total ban.

Last year the city sold 4,401 of the $25 permits required to purchase a maximum of 5,000 firecrackers. That was 32 percent fewer than the 6,427 permits sold in 2000.

But why buy a firecracker permit when you're bent on buying and exploding the far more spectacular — and illegal — aerial variety of pyrotechnics? Anyone who didn't have their head buried under the covers last year saw hundreds of them.

We have preferred a total ban on fireworks. An Advertiser poll a couple of years ago showed Hawai'i residents about evenly divided on a ban, but we must remember that proponents of fireworks are being a bit selfish, clinging to an entertainment that demonstrably harms some of their neighbors who truly suffer from the noise and smoke.

There no longer is anything remotely "cultural" about the tons of illegal aerial fireworks detonated or the debilitating pall of smoke.

That the community literally has been playing with fire by tolerating these "toys" was brought home by a couple of deaths in recent years related to aerial fireworks.

But the danger has been obvious, as police uncovered tons of illegal fireworks being sold from residences. The real risk may lie in shipping and storage of massive amounts of explosives.

You like fireworks? Then why not forget about do-it-yourself pyrotechnics and celebrate the arrival of 2003 on O'ahu by taking in a spectacular — legal — fireworks display? They'll be on view at the crack of 12 near the Halekulani Hotel, the Marriott Ihilani Resort Hotel, Kahala Mandarin Oriental and over Honolulu Harbor. Check them out.