Eco-friendly incense burners for temple

SINGAPORE - Phoh Kiu Siang T'ng temple has bought two eco-friendly incense burners as part of its efforts to reduce pollution and stave off a rising number of complaints from residents in the area.

The 7m ornate gold-coloured burners, which cost more than $110,000 in total, give off a barely noticeable vapour trail and produce no ashes, said temple spokesman Michael Chang.

One of them is meant for the deities, while the other is for ancestors.

The Buddhist Federation secretary, Venerable Guang Pin, officially launched both burners on Sunday at the temple in Simon Lane in Kovan.

About 100 people were present, including Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Yeo Guat Kwang and Aljunied GRC MP Sylvia Lim.

The eco-burners are less pollutive than the traditional ways of burning joss paper, which often cause thick plumes of black smoke.

They also do the job in less than half the time. For instance, around 30 packs of joss paper can be burned in about 10 minutes or so, said Mr Chang.

Other items that can be consumed by the burners include ancestor boxes - paper replicas of the dead person's essential possessions, such as mugs and shoes.

Mr Chang said this method of burning should appease nearby residents, a rising number of whom have been complaining in recent years.

"Some of the residents have asthma, and are very vocal during the (lunar) seventh month, to the point where even the police are called in," he added. This was not always the case, he lamented.

The temple, which has about 1,000 devotees, has a long history. It was established in Upper Circular Road in 1929 but moved to its current location in the late 1930s.

"The area then was just a large kampung," said Mr Chang. "As it got more built up, tolerance got lesser."

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