Elderly people and those with respiratory problems are particularly vulnerable to air pollution peaks caused by the mass use of fireworks during national celebrations, the ministry says. Particles, sulphur dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulphide are all potential problems. The ministry is also concerned that firework debris can contaminate soil and surface waters, among other things with heavy metals.
Public celebrations to mark the New Year are the target of the proposed tax, because thousands of tonnes of fireworks are let off across the country.
In a first step towards establishing a tax, a working group has been set up to research the issue. It will look at possible tax rates for fireworks and how revenues should be used, presenting its findings to the Dutch parliament in mid-2001.
Dutch environment ministry, tel: +31 70 339 5050.
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