SINGAPORE: Feedback on joss paper and incense burning has dropped from about 1,100 instances in 2015 to about 500 in 2018, said Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor in Parliament on Tuesday (Feb 12).
Responding to a question from Member of Parliament Gan Thiam Poh, Dr Khor said the National Environment Agency (NEA) has been working together closely with town councils, building management teams and religious organisations to encourage "responsible burning" of joss paper and incense.
Measures include the display of posters and banners in HDB estates to advise the public to use the joss paper burners provided and to burn joss paper in small quantities to minimise smoke.
Town councils have also adopted joss burners that can burn more cleanly.
"Feedback on joss paper and incense burning has been declining, from about 1,100 instances of feedback in 2015 to about 500 in 2018," said Dr Khor.
Large metal cage burners in housing estates are normally used for specific events such as funerals, added Dr Khor, and their use needs approval from the town council.
"Normally, the town council will allow these on the temporary occupation licence basis for (a) fixed period," she said.
When it comes to the large-scale burning of religious offerings, NEA works with stakeholders to minimise the emission of smoke and fly ash, said Dr Khor.
"This includes reducing the scale of burning, locating the large metal cages and burners away from dense residential areas, and improving the design of the burners," Dr Khor explained, citing the example of eco-friendly burners with a cyclone dust collection system at Mandai Columbarium.
"We encourage the public to be considerate when burning joss paper and incense so as to keep our environment clean and safe," Dr Khor said.