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Cities spend big on fireworks to usher in 2017 - and centennial

This year residents of Helsinki and other cities will literally see good money go up in smoke as officials spend tens of thousands of euros on fireworks to mark the start of 2017 - and Finland's 100th year of independence. The chemicals safety watchdog is calling on individuals handling fireworks to exercise due caution.

Finland is celebrating 100 years of independence in 2017 and the capital Helsinki is looking to take the lead on starting the year-long commemoration in grand style.

Next weekend, annual New Year's Eve festivities promise to be bigger and better than ever as the city splurges on fireworks to mark the big event. According to news agency STT, the capital plans to spend double its usual amount on fireworks to welcome the New Year - some 40,000 euros.

After a day of activities (siirryt toiseen palveluun) including dance, song, fashion and circus performances, the action will move to Töölönlahti Bay, where city leaders have planned a dazzling fireworks display that will take viewers on a tour of the country's four seasons.

But Helsinki isn't the only big spender when it comes to ushering in 2017. An STT call round revealed that other cities have also set aside considerable amounts for the big year-end party.

Oulu will spend 20,000 euros on its celebrations, up from the usual 5,000, while Turku will splash out 9,000 euros, half of it on fireworks.

Tens of thousands spent treating eye injuries

While many look forward to the excitement of the explosive show, officials continue to warn users about the dangers of the projectiles.

Fireworks sales to consumers began on Tuesday and the the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency Tukes, launched a major online campaign aimed at encouraging safety among fireworks users and sellers.

The agency quoted medical professionals who said that one day of the year is responsible for a marked peak in eye injuries reported at health institutions - New Year's Eve. The cost of treating such injuries runs into tens of thousands of euros annually.

Tukes is therefore urging people who plan to set off fireworks to be sure they act responsibly - in spite of the high spirits expected it's more than worth the effort to use protective goggles if fireworks will be part of your New Year celebrations.