Ash scattering garden in Choa Chu Kang receives 1,900 applications; another site to open by 2024: NEA
SINGAPORE: More than 1,900 applications for inland ash scattering services at Singapore's first such facility were received as of mid-September, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Wednesday (Sep 28), as it announced the opening of another site by 2024.
"As of Sep 13, 2022, there have been more than 1,900 applications for inland ash scattering services at the Garden of Peace @ Choa Chu Kang."
The inland ash scattering garden at Choa Chu Kang Cemetery Complex, which opened in May 2021, received about 900 applications that year.
A new inland ash scattering site at Mandai is expected to be operational by 2024, the NEA said, as it foresees more demand for after-death facilities and services.
The Garden of Serenity will be introduced with the new Mandai Crematorium Complex, said NEA, adding that more cremators and building fittings will also be progressively installed "in tandem with demand".
The new complex, initially expected to be completed by end-2022, was delayed after its main contractor Greatearth Construction ran into financial difficulties in 2021.
ANNUAL DEATHS PROJECTED TO DOUBLE
With Singapore's ageing population, the annual number of deaths in the country is projected to double from about 20,000 in 2016 to 40,000 in 2040, said NEA in its Integrated Sustainability Report 2021/2022.
The projected doubling of annual deaths would drive demand for after-death services infrastructure and industry manpower.
"Our priority therefore is to ensure adequate provision of after-death facilities in Singapore, and to enhance service standards of the funeral industry," it added.
Besides planning the supply of after-death facilities, NEA also operates Singapore's public after-death facilities, providing cremation, burial, columbarium and ash scattering services.
The 9,500 sq m ash scattering garden in Choa Chu Kang is a secular facility open to all faiths.
Only fine human ashes should be scattered in the garden, and crematoriums provide services to pulverise cremated remains into powder fine ashes.
After scattering the ashes, families can use watering cans and taps provided to water the area where the ash was scattered, to ensure that the ashes sink into the soil below. At the end of the day when the garden is closed, sprinklers will also wash ashes into the soil, NEA said last year.
Religious ceremonies or rites like the burning of joss sticks, playing of instruments or music, and food offerings are not allowed in the garden.