BEIJING, April 1 (Xinhua) -- China established a national union for the accident-tainted fireworks industry on Monday, hoping to reduce casualties through strict industrial self regulation and a more standardized market.
With more than 500 member companies, the China Fireworks and Firecrackers Association will aim to help with mergers and acquisition in the sector and assist the government in creating unified safety standards and promoting the use of machines among fireworks producers.
Sun Huashan, deputy director of the State Administration of Work Safety Administration (SAWS), said at the union's inauguration ceremony that the safety regulator hoped the association would help improve the safety record of an industry that has been haunted by accidents and concerns over pollution.
"Low quality, a bad safety record and environmental pollution have been the major problems facing the industry," Sun noted.
At least 291 people have been killed in fireworks accidents over the past two years, according to SAWS data.
Many Chinese like to set off fireworks or firecrackers to celebrate traditional sacrifice rites or major holidays such as the Spring Festival and Tomb-Sweeping Day.
In the meantime, an increasing number of Chinese are voicing their discontent against the fireworks industry for the deaths and pollution it has caused over the years.