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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Pyrotechnics law not enforced, Cayey mayor laments

Cayey Mayor Rolando Ortiz Velázquez

By The Star Staff

Cayey Mayor Rolando Ortiz Velázquez spoke out Monday about what he said is an alarming increase in the use of pyrotechnics of all kinds, noting that on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day it was observed that illegal fireworks are becoming louder and more powerful.

“My biggest concern is children with autism, seniors and pets, who are harmed more than the rest of the population,” the mayor said.

Ortiz Velázquez added that the Puerto Rico Pyrotechnics Act (Act No. 83 of June 25, 1963, as amended), remains in force and was amended in 2004 and 2006, but is not being applied to its full extent.

“This law is very specific in its language, to prohibit the possession, use, manufacture, import, sale, delivery to any person … of … pyrotechnic products,” he said. “It repealed the Law of 1948 and mentions [items ranging] from rockets and firecrackers, to the so-called psychiatricals.”

The measure adds flares and any other fireworks, whether aerial or explosive, with their names in English, such as big bomb, saturn missile, flash cracker, artillery shell, pulling firecrackers, thunder bomb firecracker and whistling moon traveler, among others, in which any chemical compound or mechanical mixture containing oxidizing units and fuels or other ingredients is used, or any substance that alone or mixed with another may be flammable.

“It’s not just children with autism who are affected in a particular way, but also those with other conditions, as well as the elderly, because not everyone tolerates excessive noise, especially those who are bedridden,” the mayor said. “We must become aware of this auditory impact and look for alternatives to correct it. The situation is totally out of control; the noise from pyrotechnics is extremely excessive. In the particular case of Cayey we were listening to pyrotechnics until five in the morning.”

Ortiz Velázquez added that in Argentina, the Municipality of Olavarría implemented a positive initiative that was later adopted by other institutions, called ‘More Lights Less Noise,” with the aim of raising awareness so that during the Christmas holidays fireworks (lights) displays predominate instead of sound devices.

“As a society we have to be more effective in enforcing laws,” the mayor said. “For example, seizures of such explosives were much more frequent in the past than has been seen this year, according to media reports. This is a subject of analysis for the Public Safety Bureau and also for the federal authorities, because these explosives are not manufactured in Puerto Rico.”

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