Group set off sky lanterns near Clementi HDB blocks even though it's illegal

Sarah Koh
The Straits Times
July 11, 2023

At least three sky lanterns were released into the sky by a group near HDB blocks in Clementi, despite rules against the release of such lanterns in Singapore.

Sky lanterns are commonly made of paper and wire, fuelled by a lit candle at the bottom of it.

According to Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao, more than 10 people gathered on the evening of June 24 to release the sky lanterns from the open-air garden near the HDB blocks in Clementi Peaks.

A video clip of the act showed the lanterns drifting towards HDB blocks in the distance, with one of them nearly getting stuck in a tree, said the report.

The release of sky lanterns is not allowed here, according to information on the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) website.

Sky lanterns that are released freely have the potential to drift far and high enough to affect aircraft operations by distracting pilots or be “ingested” by aircraft engines, which in turn might endanger lives and cause harm to aircraft and property, according to the CAAS website.

The website stated that only tethered sky lanterns are allowed to be released between 7pm to 7am the next day on Monday to Friday, from 1pm on Saturday to 7am on Monday, and on public holidays.

A permit from CAAS is required if the sky lanterns are to be released in some parts of Singapore such as Changi, Seletar and Yishun, or if the lantern goes higher than 200 feet above mean sea level.

According to the Singapore Civil Defence Force’s website, lighted sky lanterns have to be tethered at all times, and the tethers used must be strong enough to prevent the lantern from breaking free. Safety marshals must be present on-site to supervise and prevent the lanterns from being released, and they have to be equipped with fire extinguishers in case of fire-related emergencies, said the website.

In October 2016, The Straits Times reported that travel company 3PlayGrounds had organised a tethered sky lantern release event in Clementi touted as environmentally-friendly, involving lanterns made with biodegradable material.

But the event drew backlash from some environmentalists, who said that despite the precautions, some lanterns still got caught in trees, causing embers to fall on surrounding vegetation.

ST has contacted the Jurong-Clementi Town Council for comment.

@zaobaosg 一名读者日前向《联合早报》申诉,指有人在金文泰新预购组屋Clementi Peaks的露天花园放天灯,有居民担忧会引发环境和失火隐患。 新加坡民航局答复《联合早报》询问时解释,灯点亮升空后无法预测会飘向何处,或会威胁航空安全和造成火患。灯升空会在飞机起降时,分散驾驶员的注意力,或被吸入飞机引擎,导致事故发生。 我国不允许自由放飞天灯,除非满足特定条件或事先申请。另外,放天灯时必须用绳子绑住操控,准备灭火器并且只能在特定时间和高度进行这项活动。 #zaobaosg #sgnews #clementi #bto #clementipeaks #singapore #新加坡生活 #新加坡 #新加坡新闻 #组屋 #新加坡组屋 #金文泰 #danger #caas #天灯 #放天燈 #孔明灯 ♬ original sound - zaobaosg

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