In Polling, the "Initiative against private New Year's Eve fireworks" has collected over 500 signatures. The local council is expressly behind the action. However, there will be no general ban on fireworks at the turn of the year in the monastery village. The legal regulations leave no room for manoeuvre for this.
Polling – Studies prove it: On New Year's Eve, particulate matter pollution from fireworks rises far beyond the limit values. The rockets and firecrackers also leave behind vast amounts of garbage on public roads and agricultural meadows. Added to this is the impairment for wildlife. The "Initiative against private New Year's Eve fireworks" therefore comes to a clear conclusion: The firecracker is "no longer up to date".
Response to initiative "unbelievably large"
The response to the initiative, as Elisabeth Geppert and Andrea Eichberger, as representatives, write in a press release, was "unbelievably large": "With the exception of a few people, the citizens were immediately willing to sign a list against private fireworks. The vast majority of them were full of praise that someone was finally tackling the problem of 'New Year's Eve fireworks'." The Pollingen municipal council took note of the list of signatures with goodwill – even if the core demand for a complete ban on fireworks in the local area cannot be implemented. "The laws simply don't allow that," said town hall manager Walter Hildebrandt in a council meeting.
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About 25 years ago, the municipality already designated protection zones or restricted areas for the ignition of fireworks, for example at the collegiate church and the monastery buildings. "We should see if we can't tighten our belts further," said Stefan Loy (WGP) – in other words, the town hall administration will examine whether the zones can be expanded spatially. The time corridor in which fireworks are permitted is also to be scrutinized and, if necessary, limited.
"There is also a counter-opinion"
During the discussion in the local council, it was clear that the balancing act between banning fireworks and allowing New Year's Eve fun is quite delicate. Mayor Martin Pape (CSU) read out a letter addressed to the town hall administration in response to the signature campaign: "There is also a counter-opinion," reported the head of the town hall. In the letter – Pape did not name the identity of the author at the meeting – there is, among other things, talk of "prohibition fetishism". "We don't want to be the absolute spoilsport, but make the whole thing more livable for everyone," emphasized Walter Hildebrandt.
Robert Erhard (UWPEO) also appealed to the population to "act responsibly". Klaus Hecker (WGP; "I have signed on the list of the initiative") also pleaded for more education in terms of the "fireworks problem": "There will always be idiots. But often it's also a matter of not knowing."
Pyrotechnician Martin Hellmuth could be back in action
The initiative doesn't want to be a "spoilsport" either – on the contrary. "As an alternative, many could imagine a single fireworks display at midnight from our local pyrotechnician. The fireworks could be financed by donations from Pollingen citizens," the initiative said in a statement. The "local pyrotechnician" refers to Martin Hellmuth, who was already involved in a "citizens' fireworks display" at the turn of the year 2010 on the occasion of the anniversary year. Hellmuth spoke as a visitor to the municipal council. His message: "The amount of waste generated by large, professional fireworks is minimal."
The town hall administration will now examine whether a "central citizen fireworks display" could be organized. This, it is hoped, could significantly reduce the number of private fireworks and create a common meeting place on New Year's Eve. A digital light show, on the other hand, is no alternative: "The costs are immense. You have to pay up to 20,000 euros for seven minutes," Pape told the local council.
Read also: With "Maria vom Oberschaffler" on a historical guided tour of Polling