Celebrations will be held across Taiwan on New Year’s eve, but with less fireworks amid air pollution concerns.
One of the most famous celebrations on the island is the New Year’s eve firework show and countdown party at the Taipei 101 skyscraper, a landmark of the city.
The show was first launched in 2004 and is the climax of New Year celebrations in Taipei, attracting tens of thousands of visitors every year.
However, air pollution has triggered debate in Taiwan on whether to continue the fireworks, which might add more pollution to the air.
In response to people’s concerns, the organizer of the Taipei 101 new year celebrations decided to reduce the number of fireworks used in the show from 30,000 to 16,000. The show will last 6 minutes, at a total cost of about 60 million new Taiwan dollars (about 2 million U.S. dollars).
In order to cope with the huge crowds expected to flood into the city center to attend the display, the Taipei metro will run non-stop for 42 hours from the morning of Dec. 31 through Jan. 1.
Security at the New Year’s eve countdown party in the Xinyi precinct of Taipei has been tightened, with more than 1,000 policemen and several bomb- sniffer dogs stationed in the area. Drones and balloons are also prohibited in the region.
Many other cities and counties in Taiwan, including Taichung, Taoyuan and Changhua, have decided to cancel the firework displays to reduce air pollution.
Earlier in December, thousands of people in Taichung and Kaohsiung took to the streets to call for reduced consumption of coal in energy production and better control of pollution.
Taichung city will use a machine to produce snowflakes during the countdown celebration to replace the fireworks, while Kaohsiung and Kinmen will use environment-friendly fireworks.
Instead of watching fireworks in the cities, many Taiwanese choose to climb mountains or visit the seashore to bid farewell to the last setting sun of 2017 or welcome in the first dawn of 2018.
A concert welcoming the New Year’s sunrise will be staged on the top of Ali Mountain at an altitude of more than 2,000 meters, which is expected to draw thousands of visitors.