EPA mulling inspection of ‘ghost money,’ incense

Taipei--The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said Sunday it is thinking of introducing a regulation that would require inspection of incense sticks and joss paper, commonly known as ghost money, to prevent use of unduly environmentally harmful products.

It is part of the government's efforts to minimize air pollution from incense sticks and joss paper, which are usually burned in religious and cultural rituals in Taiwan, the EPA indicated.

Under current national standards set by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), incense and joss paper products should not contain more than 1,000 parts per million (ppm) of lead, 100 ppm of cadmium, or 0.3 mg/L of free formaldehyde, the EPA noted.

It said it will discuss with the MOEA the idea of introducing regulations next year that will require inspection certificates for imported incense and joss paper products to show that they are in compliance with the national standards.

Locally made incense and ghost money will also be subject to strict inspection, the EPA said, adding that the measure will help reduce air pollution while preserving people's rights to observe religious rituals.

The EPA's statement came in the wake of a street protest by religious groups against the government's efforts to reduce the burning of incense and ghost money.

The groups said the government should focus more on improving the quality of incense and joss paper instead of discouraging burning of the products.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel