PHOTO GALLERY: Egypt's children pop LE500 million of Chinese fireworks for Eid

Thursday 25 Oct 2012

Fireworks, rockets, toy-grenades, and toy guns purchases increase 70 per cent during Eid, as children celebrate the holidays with a big made-in-China bang

Parents buy firework toys (Photo: Ahram Arabic news website)

In the weeks leading up to Eid Al-Adha, children anticipate the moment when they can wear their new Eid outfits and pour into the streets to pop firecrackers.

Egypt spends more than LE500 million ($82 million) on fireworks and toy guns annually, a consumption price that increases each year.

Samira, a mother of three sons, could not help but think of the different scenarios of disagreements soon to ensue during Eid. During every Eid, Samira's boys spend all their Eid money on toys that not only add more noise to a bustling Egypt, but also pose fire-hazards, firecrackers and toy guns to Samira's disgruntlement.

Samira added that the prices of those "destructive toys" increase every year and consume hundreds of pounds from a single family.

Samira, as a concerned mother, demands the increase of supervisions from those responsible.

She calls for these toys to be banned from markets to stop children from buying them and prevent parents from worrying about their kids and others around them when they play with fire-hazard toys.

Ahmed Abu Gabal, the President of the Department of Children's Toys and Stationary in the Chamber of Commerce, said that the total import receipt of firecrackers and toys ranges between LE500 ($82 million) and LE700 million ($115 million) per year, which he considers a waste of Egypt's resources. 

At least 90 per cent of the sale revenues go to China, pointing that European countries and the United States contribute to no more than 10 per cent of children's toys.

He also noted that toys that pose a fire hazard are snuck into Egypt in trucks supposedly carrying different products. He highlighted the importance of modifying the scale by which children's toys are judged to fit with the needs of the Egyptian market. He added that children's safety is a red line that should never be crossed.

Moreover, Abu Gabal stated that there was a decrease in the use of rocket fireworks last year because citizens then were scared of possibly breaking the law, just after stability was returning.

Kamal Yousef – a children's toy shop owner from Attabah, Cairo – said that the demand for children's toys during Eid is about 70 per cent more than other days of the year. He pointed out that the only fun available to kids during Eid is firecrackers and toy-guns, which provide excitement for them.

Yousef added that current generation of children prefer rocket fireworks and toy-guns that work with beads and said these toys are the most popular this year.

He stressed the importance of intensifying supervision on private markets to prevent the spread of illegal fireworks, which have wasted more than LE70 million ($11.5 million) this year already and harm the sales of law-abiding businesses.

Another toy salesman, Mina Bolos, said he sells rocket fireworks imported from China every year and that the sales of such rockets increase annually. He added that the rocket purchases have been handled by the government since the days of President Mubarak and that is still the case. 

When asked about the kinds of rockets, Bolos stated that, "the types of rocket fireworks differ according to the number of bullets. Some have three bullets, while others have five or six."

Bolos said that the price of a single rocket varies between LE7 ($1.2) and LE9 ($1.5), LE15 ($2.5) to LE20 ($3.3) for a toy-gun and LE25 ($4.2) for a toy-rifle; pointing out that Chinese toys are usually short-lived and unsafe.

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