Planet China

Pocket rocket

China famously invented the firework. And now it says it has invented the first ‘green’ firecracker too. The reusable, non-electric, non-chemical banger is the brain child of Wang Xinming, an oil executive from Henan who was worried about the effects of traditional firecrackers on China’s notoriously bad air. His model works by releasing air rapidly to make the all-important bang. It can also be filled with perfume or coloured mist, Xinhua said.

The Chinese traditionally let off firecrackers during the Lunar New Year to ward away the Nian, a mythical monster who feeds on children and represents bad luck. Fired off en masse they prompt PM2.5, PM10, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide readings to rise dramatically. So Chinese cities have been banning them in greater numbers, only allowing their sale for a brief period over New Year. In places like that, Wang’s invention could go down as a sparkling innovation.

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