The price of fireworks

In its 60th article, the Firearms and Explosives Law allows individuals to buy up to 10 kilograms of fireworks without a permit issued by the authorities

The price of fireworks
An explosion at the firework market in Tultepec - Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 30/12/2018 09:20 Mexico City Newspaper Leader Actualizada 09:20

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According to data released by the National Defense Ministry (Sedena), requested through a transparency request, 161 explosions have been registered in pyrotechnic workshops all over the country in the last six years. In 72 or them, there have been deaths, such as the one that took place two weeks ago in Tequisquiapan, Querétaro. In total, there have been 241 deaths in the last six years. It seems like no matter how many deaths take place, Mexico is unable to prevent these tragedies from happening.

In its 60th article, the Firearms and Explosives Law allows individuals to purchase up to 10 kilograms of fireworks without a permit issued by the authorities. Producers have to go through a legal process to obtain their credentials.

In the face of countless disasters, we should discuss this issue beyond the need for prevention. If hundreds of firework stalls in markets in several municipalities all over the country have the necessary permits and the proper security measures, the authorities will have to verify if there was corruption or negligence. Or are the current prohibitions not enough?

For example, in Tultitlán, particularly in the San Pablito market, they produce and distribute the majority of the fireworks used in Mexico. Nevertheless, in the Tultepec 2016-2018 Municipal Development Plan, local authorities established the lack of personnel to fulfill the needs of a population exposed to explosives as a weakness.

The discourses that urge to change the security measures are countless but the situation hasn't changed. Perhaps it is because, despite hundreds of reported accidents, authorities have only canceled 70 workshop permits since 2012. In contrast, they have issued 2,777 permits to store and sell fireworks since 2012.

In Mexico, the purchase of fireworks is widespread. They are basic for patronal feasts and on New Year's Eve. The 240 deaths that took place during the last six years make us wonder if traditions and the freedom to use explosives are reason enough to keep allowing, or pretend to ban, the indiscriminate use of fireworks; unless we assume deaths are part of the tradition.

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