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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Taiwan Works to Reduce Ghost - Month Trash - New York Times

Taiwan Works to Reduce Ghost - Month Trash - New York TimesTaiwan Works to Reduce Ghost - Month Trash

Filed at 9:34 a.m. ET

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) -- Environmentally conscious Taipei authorities are taking a novel approach to this year's annual ghost month, when Taiwanese burn thick stacks of paper money to appease the spirits of the dead: they're providing small garbage bags to limit the amount of immolated cash.

To insure that wandering ghosts will not disturb the peace and prosperity of the living over the ensuring 12 months, many Chinese burn copious amounts of paper money and set up tables laden with food during the seventh month of the lunar year -- ghost month.

But in recent years Taipei's authorities have become increasingly concerned that large stacks of immolated cash are adding to the city's already serious air pollution problems.

As a remedy, the Taipei City Government said on Friday it will distribute a bag for each household in which symbolic amounts of paper money can be placed.

''You can address the bag to wandering spirits in general or to specific dead persons of your choice,'' the government said in a statement, adding that municipal garbage trucks would dispose of the bags in high-powered incinerators.

This year's ghost month observance began on Aug. 5 and will continue until Sept. 3. It is marked not only on Taiwan, but in Chinese societies throughout the world.

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