Tartu to stop higher category firework use at public events

Fireworks at Tallinn's Inglirand Beach on January 1, 2022.
Fireworks at Tallinn's Inglirand Beach on January 1, 2022. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

A ban on the use of higher category fireworks is set to be added to the City of Tartu's official guidlelins for organizing environmentally-friendly events. In place of fireworks, the city recommends the use of more drones as a potential alternative during public events.

Tartu City Government has decided to restrict the use of fireworks in the city in order to reduce excessive noise and environmental damage. The use of medium and high risk F3 and F4 category fireworks will therefore no longer be allowed at public events in Tartu.

Permits will have to be obtained in order to use F3 and F4 pyrotechnic articles at public events.

In the case of F4 fireworks, the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) and Estonian Rescue Board (Päästeamet) must also be notified prior to use, with only qualified pyrotechnicians permitted to use them.

The same rules will apply to all events supported by the City of Tartu. 

Procedures for the use of fireworks will be included amongst the minimum requirements listed in the city's guide for organizing environmentally-friendly events. All those organizing public events and events subsidized by the city are required to follow these guidelines. 

Sten Svetljakov, head Tartu City Government's cultural department, said that nowadays there are a number of good alternatives to make the visual design of an event more enjoyable.

"It is mainly different lighting solutions that will be used and we will certainly see more drone performances replacing fireworks in the future. I believe that with this change, Tartu is setting a really good example. That we shouldn't hold on to old things that can be harmful to the environment as well as to many Tartu residents," said Svetljakov.

High category fireworks create a lot of noise, light and air pollution. Substances emitted from pyrotechnic products are toxic and carcinogenic. The use of pyrotechnics also generates a large amount of hazardous waste, which often ends up in municipal waste streams. The groups most at risk from the additional noise and light produced are young children and those suffering from particular conditions including epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Animals, as well as birds nesting in and around cities are also sensitive to noise and light. 

While pyrotechnic articles of category F2, which cause less disturbance, can be used in the future, in accordance with the guide for organizing environmentally-friendly events, alternatives focusing on visual effects are recommended. Higher category fireworks may continue to be used at private events on private property, however prior approval must be obtained from the City's Department of Business Development. 

The new rules will enter into effect this fall.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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