For the Tomb Sweeping Festival, the Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB) of Taichung City Government has posted a lot of banners on the District Office buildings and community buildings, urging people to reduce the burning of joss paper or replace joss paper by “vouchers”. Furnaces to concentrate the burning of joss paper are also provided at the cemetery and columbaria. It is hoped that ancestor worshiping during the Tomb Sweeping Festival can go hand in hand with environmental protection.
Burning 1 kg of joss paper produces 1.5 kg of carbon dioxide. In the Tomb Sweeping Festival last year, 452.21 metric tons of joss paper were collected and concentrated for burning, producing 678 metric tons of carbon dioxide and generating many other harmful air pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, benzene, toluene, dust and so on, which may impact our environment and human health to a great extent, said the EPB.
EPB Director-general Hung Cheng-chung (洪正中) pointed out, “The Tomb Sweeping Festival is an occasion in which people used to burn the biggest amount of joss paper. I would like to urge our citizens to use ‘rice vouchers’ in place of joss paper for ancestor worshiping. There are many merits in this new alternative. It helps prevent fires. You can donate the ‘rice vouchers’ to disadvantaged groups or Food Bank. I believe the merits will always return toyour ancestors and families.”
“If you still want to burn joss paper,” added Director-general Hung, “please make an appointment in advance with our district clean teams, so that we can collect your joss paper and concentrate the burning in the incineration plants to reduce air pollutants.Let ancestor worshiping cause no burden to our air quality.”