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Friday, July 1, 2022

Fireworks vendors under new scrutiny across Yucatán

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Some of the most popular types of pyrotechnics sold in Yucatán include hand-thrown explosives like petardos and palomas, known generically as “bombitas.” Photo: Courtesy

State and municipal police have mounted a special task force to monitor the sale of pyrotechnics across Yucatán. 

Authorities say they are on the lookout for clandestine vendors and authorized merchants who are not respecting safety protocols. 

Though the sale of pyrotechnics is widespread in Yucatán over the holidays, most vendors are concentrated in the so-called “Piñata alley” on Calle 65 between 54 and 56 in Mérida’s Centro.

Sellers also must wear color-coded photo ID to prove they are authorized to dispense fireworks. The ID also prevents sellers from moving their merchandise to other areas of Mérida.

While many have argued that the use of pyrotechnics is a fun tradition, others have expressed their discontent arguing that the dangers and noise caused by such explosives far outweigh peoples right to a “good time.”

Earlier: The big bang: Yucatán divided over holiday fireworks

In recent years, people advocating for the prohibition of pyrotechnics in Mexico have argued that they cause undue distress to animals and people living with conditions such as autism. 

Accidents involving pyrotechnics are common in Yucatán and across Mexico and seem to occur on a yearly basis, with most cases concentrated around the Christmas holidays.

For example, last year dozens were killed in a massive series of explosions in a fireworks market north of Mexico City.

Pyrotechnic devices in Mexico are usually one of two types: fireworks designed to be shot upwards and explode in the sky and firecrackers such as petardos and palomas, intended to be thrown by hand. The latter are made by compressing small amounts of gunpowder into a tightly wrapped vessel made of newspaper or rope. They are known to be capable of causing severe injuries, particularly when exploding near someone’s hands or face.

Another major contributor to accidents with pyrotechnics is their use while intoxicated, which is hardly surprising. 

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