JOHOR BARU - The haze and long dry spell will have an effect on the upcoming Qing Ming Festival (Chinese All Souls Day) as well - families observing the festival this year are choosing to burn fewer joss sticks and less paper in an effort not to worsen the air quality.
Mechanic Choong Chee Leng, 35, said his family chose to be more environmentally friendly as the past two months had been very dry and hot in Johor and other parts of the country.
"We will keep the burning to a minimum this year and will only burn necessary items like hell notes, paper clothing, paper houses and cars for my grandparents," he said when met at the cemetery in Tebrau here yesterday.
Factory supervisor Giam Yee Wei, 46, said her family usually spent about RM500 on prayer items to burn for her ancestors but they cut this down by half this year.
"Our country just had rain a week ago, so we do not want to do much open burning and contribute to any bush fires," she said.
She said her family arrived at the cemetery from Gelang Patah at 7.30am yesterday and noticed that other families were also burning fewer items this time round.
Singaporean Joseph Phua, 55, also encouraged his family to cut down on the items they burned so that they would not harm the environment.
"Burning fewer items can help save the environment and money. I am sure our ancestors will understand," added the father of three.
The festival, where families will clean their ancestors' tombs, give offerings and burn prayer paraphernalia which replicates dollar notes, cars, clothes and houses, falls on April 5 this year.