Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Illegal fireworks makers outnumber the legal ones in Tultepec

In Mexico’s self-declared fireworks capital, illegal manufacturers and vendors of the explosives dominate the local industry, increasing the risk of tragic accidents, according to a municipal government official.

Juventino Luna, director of artisanal development and pyrotechnics in Tultepec, México state, told the newspaper Milenio that local authorities know of around 700 fireworks-related businesses that are operating unlawfully in the municipality.

In contrast, those with official permission to make and distribute the explosives — which is granted by the federal Secretariat of Defense (Sedena) — number just 585.

Since an explosion in Tultepec’s San Pablito market in December 2016 that left 42 people dead, Luna said that there have been a further nine fireworks accidents, mainly at workshops without Sedena authorization.

For that reason, the municipality is lobbying higher authorities for the power to regulate the industry at a local level.

Luna said right now all the municipality can do is “raise awareness” about the dangers of making fireworks and “carry out campaigns” aimed at dissuading people from making and storing the explosives at their homes or transporting them without the relevant licenses.

The dangers of fireworks were again brought into sharp focus when more than 500 people were injured during Tultepec’s annual fireworks fair in March while an explosion at a fireworks workshop in the city earlier this month killed seven.

On Monday of this week, another workshop blast left one person dead and a further eight with injuries.

Although that workshop had permission from Sedena to operate, Luna said the incident shows that “human error” can still lead to accidents, although he added that “the risk is less.”

The official pointed out that the manufacture and distribution of fireworks is the most important economic activity in the municipality and estimated that 30% of local families depend on it for their livelihood, further underscoring the need for regulations at a local level.

Meanwhile, the leader of a fireworks merchants’ union at the San Pablito market said that a new market will open in August, one that was specifically designed to prevent a another disaster similar to the 2016 tragedy.

Germán Galicia said that shops within the new market are made out of reinforced concrete while it also has built-in security features such as firewalls and lightning rods.

“The stores are a little bit smaller to avoid excess storage [of fireworks and] between every establishment there are air pockets measuring 60 centimeters so that in the case of a fire it doesn’t spread from store to store,” he added.

The state government contributed 35 million pesos (US $1.7 million) for the construction of 150 stores within the market while the Tultepec municipal government chipped in seven million pesos (US $346,000) towards building its 150 other stores.

Source: Milenio (sp)

Have something to say? Paid Subscribers get all access to make & read comments.
The La Rojeña distillery caught fire on Tuesday after a tank exploded.

Explosion at José Cuervo distillery kills 6 workers

Authorities said the incident involved the explosion of one tank, which sparked a fire in three additional tanks at the distillery.
A bird flies over the wetlands with the city skyline in the background

Director says Lake Texcoco Ecological Park will be inaugurated in August

The huge recreational park and reserve covers an area 17 times larger than Mexico City's Chapultepec Park.
The authorities confiscated 3,920 kilograms of material presumed to be methamphetamine, along with precursor chemicals and lab materials.

Authorities shut down second-largest drug lab found during AMLO’s term

The bust is the second significant blow to drug cartels this month after the Navy seized nearly 90 tonnes of a precursor chemical in Colima.