El Borge in the Axarquía is home to around 925 people. E. Cabezas
‘Rockets, firecrackers and fireworks - yes or no?': Small village in Malaga province's Axarquía puts it to a public vote
Public vote

‘Rockets, firecrackers and fireworks - yes or no?': Small village in Malaga province's Axarquía puts it to a public vote

El Borge town hall has distributed information leaflets and ballot forms to all residents who have until 31 January to make up their minds

Eugenio Cabezas / Jennie Rhodes

El Borge

Tuesday, 23 January 2024, 18:11

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Pyrotechnics form an integral part of most festivals and celebrations across Malaga province and wider Spain. However, there is growing criticism of such displays, which are are often not authorised by town halls. The noise produced by fireworks and firecrackers can be extremely traumatic for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), elderly people and animals and this is leading to more and more groups campaigning for a complete ban or the use of silent fireworks. In fact, a dog tragically died in Nerja over Christmas when it allegedly jumped off a balcony, terrified by the noise coming from fireworks in the town.

Now, in the small Axarquia village of El Borge, which is home to just 925 registered inhabitants, the town hall has decided to open up the question to its citizens. The question posed to them in a referendum is: ‘rockets, firecrackers and fireworks - yes or no?' The question is being posed ahead of the village’s annual feria (fair) in honour of its patron saint, Saint Gabriel which will take place in spring.

The town hall has been distributing leaflets and ballot papers asking residents for their opinion on the use of fireworks during the San Gabriel fair, on which they are invited to tick the box ‘yes to the use of pyrotechnics’ or ‘no to the use of pyrotechnics’ depending on their view.

Yes or no to pyrotechnics

Residents over the age of 18 and registered on the town hall padrón have until 31 January to post their voting paper in a ballot box set up especially for this purpose at the town hall. The box is open from 8am to 2.30pm. Spare ballot papers are available next to the box for anyone who hasn’t received one or has forgotten to take the one delivered to their home.

The town hall said in a statement, "Only one vote per person will be allowed for registered residents in the village over 18 years. The town hall can be contacted on 952 512 033 for any further information.” The statement goes on to say that during Christmas, “the Franz Weber Foundation pointed out that the launching of firecrackers and the organisation of fireworks displays are "real torture" for people with ASD, hyperacusis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or with other mental health conditions”.

In addition, the foundation explained that fireworks can easily exceed 110 decibels, which is extremely stressful for animals as many species such as dogs, cats and rodents have much more sensitive hearing than humans. Animals may experience shock, anxiety, epileptic seizures, and even heart failure leading to death.

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