BEIJING, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Beijing Consumer Association Thursday urged Beijing citizens to replace fireworks with flowers and electronic substitutes as smog concerns shroud the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year.
A statement issued by the association advised consumers to refrain from celebration with fireworks and firecrackers or only use environmentally friendly products to avoid "rubbing salt into the wound" of the city's already severe air pollution.
Chinese people traditionally light firecrackers and fireworks during the Lunar New Year, which falls on Jan. 31 this year, hoping the noise will fend off evil spirits and bad luck. However, with regular bouts of smog hitting China in recent years, fireworks' contribution to air pollution has drawn attention from the public and authorities.
The firework spree during last year's Lunar New Year led to a surge in the PM 2.5 reading, which measures hazardous fine particles, to 500 micrograms per cubic meter on Lunar New Year's Eve.
Beijing authorities have said firework and firecracker celebrations would be banned if serious air pollution is forecast for the festival.