Source: Xinhua | 2013-2-15 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
IN contrast to typical lunar New Year celebrations that feature massive quantities of fireworks, Zhang Zhengwei and his family have yet to set off a single firecracker.
"We all suffered from last month's filthy smog. If we don't call an end to the fireworks, the environment will be worsened during the holiday," said Zhang, who put up a notice in his community in Jinan, capital of east China's Shandong Province, calling on residents to set off fewer fireworks.
The family are among many Chinese people celebrating in a more environmentally friendly fashion, setting off fewer fireworks and reducing waste during family meals.
The holiday is traditionally celebrated with large amounts of fireworks, as Chinese custom dictates that loud noise and fire wards off evil spirits. The tradition of eating large dinners is intended to showcase a family's affluence.
But green holiday initiatives proposed by people like Zhang have become more popular and Internet users have been championing the benefits of setting off fewer fireworks and eating less.
"My family didn't buy any fireworks this year. Instead, we donated the money we saved to malnourished children. It's good for the environment and charity as well," one microblogger posted on weibo.com.
Sales of fireworks in Beijing dropped significantly this year, with 260,000 cartons of fireworks sold from February 5 to 9, compared to 410,000 cartons sold during the same period last year, according to the city government.
Beijing sent its residents text messages urging them to set off fewer fireworks this year.
On February 9, lunar New Year's eve, fireworks injured 25 people and triggered 83 fire-related emergencies in the capital, down 28.6 percent and 44.6 percent respectively from last year.
Sanitation workers collected 1,586 tons of spent fireworks that night, 18 percent less than in 2012.
A fireworks show in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, was canceled to reduce pollution and cut costs. It cost 10 million yuan (US$1.6 million) last year.
"The lingering smog that engulfed most Chinese cities last month has boosted the public's environmental awareness, resulting in a trend toward green festival celebrations," said Feng Kun, a Beijing official.