Be socially responsible during Qing Ming: NEA

A man with offerings at Choa Chu Kang Chinese Cemetery during the Qing Ming Festival in April last year. This year's festival will take place on April 4, and those who are sick are reminded to avoid visiting the cemeteries and columbaria. NEA has als
A man with offerings at Choa Chu Kang Chinese Cemetery during the Qing Ming Festival in April last year. This year's festival will take place on April 4, and those who are sick are reminded to avoid visiting the cemeteries and columbaria. NEA has also urged the public to keep the environment clean and avoid creating fire hazards.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

The National Environment Agency (NEA) is advising those who observe Qing Ming, or the Chinese tomb-sweeping festival, to exercise socially responsible behaviour in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

It reminded those who are sick to avoid visiting the cemeteries and columbaria, while adding that those who carry out Qing Ming visits should observe good hygiene habits.

The Qing Ming Festival this year takes place on April 4, with crowds also expected on April 10 - the Good Friday public holiday - as well as on the weekends between March 21 and April 19.

Covid-19 precautions aside, NEA has urged the public to keep the environment clean. "Members of the public are encouraged to burn joss paper in small quantities to minimise smoke emission and avoid creating fire hazards such as leaving lighted candles and matches unattended, in view of the ongoing warm and dry weather," it said.

The agency also asked people to remember not to leave food offerings or litter behind as this could lead to mosquito breeding or rat infestation.

To facilitate visits, several new shuttle bus services will be provided.

For Choa Chu Kang Cemetery and Columbarium, a new shuttle bus service will be provided at a fee of $1 per trip between NEA's claims and registration office at Christian Cemetery Path 2 and Choa Chu Kang Columbarium at 15-minute intervals.

NEA said: "The crowds at Choa Chu Kang Columbarium are expected to be larger this year as we expect more next of kin to visit, given that niche occupancy at the columbarium has continued to grow."

For Mandai Crematorium and Columbarium, a shuttle bus service, which charges a fee of $1.40 per trip, will be deployed between Khatib MRT station at the Exit A pick-up point and the rear entrance of Mandai Columbarium in Mandai Avenue.

Both bus services will operate on weekends and public holidays between March 21 and April 19.

In its advisory on Wednesday, NEA also told the public to exercise discretion while engaging grave maintenance services that are not regulated by the agency.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 13, 2020, with the headline 'Be socially responsible during Qing Ming: NEA'. Print Edition | Subscribe