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February 8, 2010

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Purchase ban on fireworks ahead of Expo

FIREWORKS purchases will be banned within the city's Middle Ring Road from April 1 until October 31 to ensure a safe World Expo 2010, the Shanghai Fire Control Bureau said over the weekend.

Also, those who buy fireworks outside the ring road will have to register their true identities during that period.

There are 1,500 designated sites selling fireworks for the Spring Festival, which starts on Sunday, across the city now.

Residents were advised to buy fireworks from one of these licensed vendors, said Chen Zonghua, vice director of the bureau.

He also warned people not to take fireworks onto public transport.

New fire-fighting regulations, which take effect on April 1, forbid anyone without permission to carry flammable and explosive substances, including fireworks, on public transport.

People who report illegal transport or storage of fireworks will be rewarded, according to Chen.

People usually light fireworks on the Chinese New Year's Eve and the morning of the fifth day of the lunar new year to pray for good fortune.

But some people just light them whenever they feel like it during the Spring Festival.

In the downtown area - such as People's Square, Nanjing Road and Xujiahui area - as well as at the city's two airports, fireworks are not allowed. This year, the World Expo site, Shanghai South Railway Station and the greater Hongqiao area have been added to the places where fireworks are forbidden, the bureau said.

"This is just one measure to ensure the safety of the Expo event," Chen said.

Thirty-two groups of firefighters now take turns patrolling the 5.28-square-kilometer World Expo site 24 hours a day.

Chen said welding and various decorating materials pose major fire risks as the interior decoration of national pavilions and other Expo venues continues.


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