Sun, Aug 07, 2011 - Page 2 News List

EPA urges public to avoid gift wrapping, burning ghost money

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff Reporter

With Father’s Day falling tomorrow and the Ghost Festival approaching, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) is urging the public to reduce resource consumption by avoiding wrapping presents and burning paper ghost money when making offerings during rituals.

Since 2006, the EPA has issued a number of restrictions that limit excess packaging, specifically of gift boxes for pastries, cosmetics, wine, processed foods and computer programs.

The EPA, citing the results of regular inspections nationwide and targeted inspections before major holidays, said instances of excess packaging have decreased from 15.2 percent of products in 2006 to below 0.1 percent last year.

However, during the Ghost Festival, it is a popular tradition for devotees to make offerings of food and burn “ghost money” and incense to pray for the deceased. EPA statistics showed that about 280,000 tonnes of paper ghost money are burned nationwide every year, causing air pollution and the risk of fires.

Saying it respects the custom of burning ghost money during rituals, the EPA in a bid to control air pollution urged the public to cooperate with local governments by burning ghost money collectively at refuse incineration plants, instead of burning it outdoors.

The EPA said this year it had asked 18 local governments to set up ghost money collection sites during the Ghost Festival, adding that it estimated the sites would collect up to 2 million tonnes of ghost money.

In addition, the EPA urged members of the public to pay respects to the dead while protecting the environment by donating money, using flowers and fruit in rituals, and praying without burning incense.

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