Dozens of people are injured in Georgia as a result of use of pyrotechnics each New Year. However, at the very end of 2015, for the first time the society raised the issue seriously, demanding to totally ban the use of pyrotechnics.
An incident, when a hooligan (by the way, of the full legal age) threw a petard into a route taxi, as a result of which a driver lost sight in one eye, was a final straw. The society was indignant and a petition, calling for prohibition of pyrotechnics, appeared in the social networks. Thousand signatures have been collected under the petition.
Petards and fireworks are on sale at the market from the beginning of December till February. They are cheap and can be bought for GEL0.20 (less than US$0.10). This affordability is mainly conditioned by the fact that children from 7 to 15 years are the main buyers of cheap pyrotechnics in Georgia. That’s why petards are exploded everywhere, including in school classrooms and on children’s playgrounds.
During the holidays, there are traditionally lots of calls to 112 hot line. On the New Year eve in 2015, to be exact on December 30 -31, eighty patients were delivered to Khechinashvili Burn Center. According to the senior doctor of the Burn Center, Gugi Kashibadze, over half of the patients were children, who had suffered as a result of pyrotechnics explosion.
The reasons children get traumas differ.
Very often the firework is targeted wrongly and it flies from the balcony not to the air, but to the flat and explodes there, injuring everybody, who is near it. Sometimes the firework buyers cannot launch them correctly because they are not accompanied by an instruction in Georgian language. Sometimes petards are thrown to a car through a window or event to someone’s pocket. Last year, a child put a petard into a mouth of his sleeping grandfather.
Apart from purposeful subversive activity, traumas usually occur because fireworks are stored without observance of relevant rules; it is not regulated in any way in Georgia. Imported pyrotechnics (mainly from China) undergo regular customs procedures and afterwards the state is not interested in it at all. At least it does not consider it expedient to examine its condition when it gets to shops.