Swiss ring in New Year with ‘green’ fireworks

New Year in Zurich, as seen on January 1, 2019 © Keystone / Ennio Leanza

Several cities in Switzerland held more environmentally-friendly fireworks displays  - or none at all - to see in the New Year.

This content was published on January 1, 2020 - 10:10

In Basel, the number of fireworks were reduced by a third in order to reduce fine particle pollution, The move was calculated to “send a signal in terms of environmental impact”, the Canton of Basel City said.  

Overall, the spectacle ran for 16 minutes instead of 21.

The fireworks were estimated to account for 2-3% of yearly fine particle pollution. But officials didn’t want to cancel the event altogether, because it was highly popular.

The privately-run spectacle started, as traditional, at half past midnight.

Zurich ‘climate-neutral’

In Zurich, the New Year’s fireworks were billed as being “completely climate-neutral for the first time ever,” according to the organisers.  The myclimate foundation calculated and compensated the CO2 emissions, with the benefit going to the Virunga mountain gorilla project in Ruanda, they said.

The city of Zurich saw 150,000 visitors gathering to see in the New Year.

No fireworks

Some cities had no fireworks at all, such as in the capital, Bern. Three bells in the Munster tower rang in the New Year from a quarter to midnight.

In St Gallen fireworks were banned to protect the Unesco World Heritage Abbey site.

In the resort of St Moritz, drones replaced the traditional New Year’s fireworks display over the lake at 10pm, which was described as a “premiere”.  “100 flying objects in changing colours and formats generate new 3D images, some of which have been specially designed for St. Moritz,” the tourism site said.

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