Visitors stroll near the trees decorated with red lanterns ahead of Chinese New Year celebrations at Ditan Park in Beijing, Friday, Feb. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
BEIJING (AP) - Beijing's annual Lunar New Year fireworks barrage has been notably muted following government appeals to keep air pollution to a minimum.
China's capital saw almost twice the number of smoggy days in January, with levels of small particle air pollution going off the charts at times. That prompted calls for restraint, along with a reduction in the number of licensed fireworks sellers and amount of fireworks on sale.
The fusillades that began on Lunar New Year's eve on Saturday night started later than usual but still grew to furious intensity at midnight. They also died out earlier than usual on Sunday morning and relatively few explosions were heard during the day.
Setting off fireworks is a key traditional part of the celebration marking China's most important family holiday.
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