To show its concern towards the environment, some Buddhist and Taoist institutions have issued guidelines for the burning of offerings during the coming Qingming Festival in Singapore.
Qingming Festival, also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day, will be celebrated on April 4. People pay their respects to their ancestors through offerings of food, incense and burning of paper clothes in bags or boxes.
Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery has issued a guideline that burning of large paper box offerings will be banned from this year onwards.
Spokesperson of this monastery Venerable Chuan Sheng said, “We started publicising the message a year ago, and I’m sure our devotees and public are all very understanding about this. We’re very encouraged by their response that we’re all working towards more eco-friendly policies, which will benefit all of us.”
The monastery has also installed an eco-burner with an environmental friendly ash filtration system about three years ago. This step was taken to reduce the amount of ash produced during the festivals.
The spokesperson added, “There has also been a lot of understanding and support in the monastery’s move to stop the burning of joss paper boxes and we hope to continue to do our part to protect the environment by introducing more environmentally friendly initiatives," the spokesperson added.
Singapore’s Kwong Wai Siew Peck San Theng columbarium has adopted greener guidelines. Here, only staff members are allowed to burn joss paper offerings and incense sticks. Visitors have to remove the plastic covers and materials from their offerings before handing them over for burning - a policy which has been in place for around 10 years.
From next year, onwards, the columbarium also plans to ban the burning of paper box offerings during peak periods.
Sum Onn Wah, President of Kwong Wai Siew Peck San Theng said, “We don’t encourage people to burn such big items like big paper boxes because it always creates a lot of air pollution and flame and dark smoke.”