SINGAPORE: The National Environment Agency (NEA) will take action against three people who were caught on video throwing joss paper into a canal in East Coast, the agency said on Friday (Sep 3).
In a video shared on social media by The Local Society, three people, who were not named, were spotted throwing boxes of joss paper into a canal.
NEA was first alerted to the incident along East Coast Service Road on Aug 22, it said.
Aug 22 was the 15th day of the Hungry Ghost Festival, on which Taoists and Buddhists would perform rituals to absolve the sufferings of the dead.
"Based on our investigations, the three individuals were making offerings during the Hungry Ghost month, and to a deceased person," the agency said in a statement on Friday night.
The throwing of the joss paper into the canal is an offence under the Environmental Public Health Act.
"We will be taking appropriate enforcement action against the three individuals, who are first-time offenders," said NEA.
Under the Act, first-time offenders for such offences are liable on conviction to a maximum court fine of S$2,000.
NEA reminded members of the public who burn joss paper for religious purposes to use the burners and containers provided by town councils and not to leave any food offerings or litter behind.
"We should also be considerate when observing religious practices as it’s our shared responsibility to keep public spaces and our waterways clean," said NEA.
Mr Tan Thiam Lye, president of Taoist Federation, said that he does not condone such actions and the federation reminds devotees every year during the Hungry Ghost Festival to clean up after they make their offerings.
"Times have changed, we also need to protect the environment," said Mr Tan in Mandarin. "We must conduct rituals in a civilised way. This way of doing it will lead to criticism from others."