Fireworks illuminate the sky to greet the New Year in Helsinki, capital of Finland, Jan. 1, 2012. (Xinhua/Zhao Changchun)
HELSINKI, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- While the public voice for banning fireworks is rising, the city of Espoo in southern Finland will be the first city in the country to celebrate the New Year with laser light show instead of firecrackers, media reported on Friday.
In Finland, New Year is usually celebrated with fireworks provided by municipalities, but this is thought to be old-fashioned by the city of Espoo, Lea Rintala, director of Culture Services Unit of Espoo, told Finnish national broadcaster Yle.
"We are a sustainable development city and rockets don't really suit well with that. However, over the years we have received some feedback about this, so we are now trialing a laser show," Rintala was quoted as saying.
She added that the news of the alternative to fireworks has already generated a surprising amount of interest.
The laser show will start in downtown Espoo at 18:20 local time on the New Year's eve. The show will cover an area including the Espoo cathedral, the nearby Church Park and the river bank. Other light shows may also take place in other parts of the city during the year, according to Rintala.
The southwest city of Finland Turku is considering to follow Espoo's footsteps, said Yle.
The public demand for banning consumers from using fireworks is constantly rising in recent couple of years in Finland, aiming to reduce the cases of injuries, air pollution and stress and anxiety in animals caused by fireworks.
A citizens' initiative to prohibit the use of fireworks by private individuals was launched in early December this year and has gathered the support of nearly 40,000 individuals so far.
If the initiative will collect a total of 50,000 signatories by June, 2019, the Finnish MPs have to consider legislative changes on use of fireworks.
According to Yle, Norway banned the use of fireworks by private individuals years ago. Sweden will require a permit for the use of certain kinds of stick-mounted fireworks from the beginning of next year.