SINGAPORE - For years, residents of Fulton estate - next to Singapore's biggest Mahayana Buddhist temple - have suffered from poor air quality during festive months such as Qing Ming when joss papers are burned as a show of filial piety to dead relatives.
On average, more than 10 complaints are lodged with the National Environment Agency (NEA) during the festival which usually takes place during March and April, said temple representatives.
Since the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery installed a new four-storey, $1 million eco-friendly burner three weeks ago, only one complaint has been made.
"There are still ashes but it's better than how it used to be," said local resident Ang Su Lin, 29, who works in medical sales.
"We don't have to clean up the stray ashes as often as we used to," said Ms Ang.
The Taiwan-made hexagonal burner can burn at least 20 tonnes of paper efficiently a day, said temple representative and project manager Cho Peng Weng.
An NEA spokesman said that it does not regulate the burners used in temples.
The new burner is part of an upgrade of the 93-year-old temple's facilities which started in 2006. A $12 million four-storey carpark with about 200 spaces will open later this year.
A new six-storey $35 million Buddhist college for monks, to be built within the compound, was slated for completion this year. However, this has been delayed by a year because of the manpower crunch and rainy weather the past 15 months, said Mr Cho.
This article was published on April 12 in The Straits Times.
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