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'Take a look at the extravagance': Sengkang resident disturbed by lights from over 50 LED wreaths at wake

'Take a look at the extravagance': Sengkang resident disturbed by lights from over 50 LED wreaths at wake
PHOTO: Stomp

There was no missing this wake, especially at night.

A Sengkang resident was dismayed by the number of LED wreaths at the wake near her home that far exceeded the limit set in the guidelines by the National Environment Agency (NEA) and Association of Funeral Directors Singapore (AFD).

Stomp contributor Carol shared videos and photos of rows and rows of such wreaths, made of artificial flowers and LED lights, around Block 250A Compassvale Street on April 2 and 3.

"Take a look at the extravagance of these LED wreaths," said the Stomp contributor. "It was announced in June 2022 that the limit for LED wreaths is 10, but this wake just below my flat had 50 and counting.

"Additionally, it was past 10pm. The lights were not turned off and reflected off the buildings into our homes.

"As seen in the video, there were wires hanging all over the place to tap electricity from all the surrounding blocks. How much electricity was wasted by these LED wreaths, which can also cause a short circuit and start a fire, especially on rainy days.

"Flower wreaths would have been more earth-friendly and safer. They decompose at the end of the day and return to the earth. The belief that LED wreaths are more sustainable is questionable. Isn’t the carbon footprint for naturally decomposing flowers lower? And flower wreaths also do not cause inconvenience for residents at night."

The Stomp contributor said she called the NEA, AFD, police and town council.

"Sengkang Town Council said they could not find the funeral director and so they left it as was. But they never told the family about the breach," said the Stomp contributor.

Stomp has contacted Sengkang Town Council for more info.

Guidelines were set for the use of LED wreaths and inflatable structures at wakes on June 7, 2022, after concerns emerged over their excessive use and how bright they are, which could potentially obstruct motorists’ line of sight.

Deployment of these light-emitting wreaths and inflatables will be confined to the funeral wake area – HDB void decks and pavilion – and will be subject to conditions and approvals from the authorities.

NEA told The Straits Times in 2022: “The guidelines aim to provide recommendations to premises owners and the industry on the use and deployment of light-emitting wreaths and inflatables at wakes to prevent issues such as light and noise pollution, obstruction to pedestrian traffic, and potential circuit breaker trips.

“NEA is working with town councils to incorporate the guidelines in the terms and conditions for a permit to hold wakes, as many wakes are held at communal spaces in HDB estates.”

According to the guidelines, LED wreaths and inflatables will not be allowed to be placed near carparks, roads, walkways, business entities or residences, as they will obstruct traffic, motorists and pedestrians.

If they are placed within common spaces such as pedestrian walkways and pavements, they should allow for a walking space of at least 1.5m.

The items should not be located within 5m of a fire hydrant and should not obstruct any fire safety provisions.

They are also not to be turned on from 10pm to 7am.

“Town councils or relevant authorities’ written permission is required for deviations from these guidelines,” NEA added.

One wreath supplier told ST that while he understood the concerns, the new guidelines are tough.

He said: “We already don’t place the wreaths on walkways so they wouldn’t be a nuisance to others. But how can we ensure that there’re only 10 wreaths at each wake when other businesses can supply to the same wake?”

Referring to the guideline that states LED wreaths and inflatables must not be placed within 5m of any carpark, he said: “Some HDB blocks are surrounded by carparks. If we cannot place them within 5m, there’s no other space.”

Businesses that The Sunday Times spoke to said that LED wreaths were introduced in Singapore in 2021 after they took off in Taiwan and China.

The shift in preference from fresh flower wreaths started in the middle of 2021, according to suppliers.

ALSO READ: Too bright, too festive and a fire risk: LED funeral wreaths no longer welcome by some funeral parlours

This article was first published in Stomp. Permission required for reproduction.

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