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Yuen Yuen Institute accident exposes loosely regulated furnaces

  • 2017-09-13
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Caroline Kwok、Holly Chik、Michelle Ng、Elly WuEdited by: Isabella Lo、Daisy Lee
  • 2017-09-13

Yuen Yuen Institute accident exposes loosely regulated furnaces Loose regulations towards furnace are revealed as a woman died two days after leaping into an unattended temple incinerator. Temples and religious event organisers do not need to obtain permits from Environmental Protection Department for furnaces used for burning joss paper, incense and other rites , since these activities are not regulated by the Air Pollution Control (Open Burning) Regulation. Currently, no regulation or ordinance deal directly with the safety issue of furnaces other than the temple itself, said Wong Wai-kit, the Vice Chairman of the Tsuen Wan District Council. "We do not know which government department is responsible for the regulation", said a spokesperson for the Fire Services Department. According to the spokesperson, the department is not directly responsible for regulating the burners but can provide advice to the design and location of furnaces upon other government bodies' requests. The department can only take action if the incense burners pose threat to fire safety such as the width of fire escapes. Other departments can only exert limited control to the operation of furnaces. Environmental Protection Department can serve an Air Pollution Abatement Notice to require the owner of the furnace to take remedial action to cut down or even eliminate the smoke emission. Food and Environmental Hygiene Department can charge anyone who committed littering up to $1,500, including ashes after burning paper offerings. Compared to that in Yuen Yuen Institute, the "Qing Yan" Eco-joss paper furnace developed by Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) has a smaller opening. Temples operated by Tung Wah Group of Hospitals (TWGH) have trained staff to handle the burning for the public, especially when there is a high demand for the service, said the HKPC, who designed the burners for TWGH. The HKPC also said they usually …