People are free to choose how they wish to be memorialised. While many choose to hold traditional funerals, some choose to take another route, such as scattering their loved one’s ashes at sea.
And so, the question this poses: is this even legal? And if so, to what extent is it legal? We’ll answer that and more in this quick guide about the legality of scattering ashes in Singapore.
Is it legal to scatter ashes of the deceased at sea?
Yes, you’re allowed to scatter your loved one’s ashes at sea, but it comes with some restrictions.
According to the National Environmental Agency (NEA), you may scatter small amounts of ashes at the designated site located about 1.5 nautical miles (2.8 km) south of Pulau Semakau.
Furthermore, you may only do so at a designated time. You may choose to scatter your loved one’s ashes at any day of the week from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm.
Keep in mind that you’re not allowed to bury a body at sea under any circumstances. You may only scatter your loved one’s ashes after they’ve been cremated.
For more information, you may contact the MPA’s Port Marine Safety Control Centre at 6325 2488.
Where else can I scatter my loved one’s ashes?
Another alternative would be the newly-opened Garden of Peace—a designated garden located at Choa Chu Kang Cemetery. As of writing, this garden is the only in-land ash scattering facility in Singapore, open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.
This garden features designated lanes for walkways and ash scattering, with trees and hedges separating the lanes to give families privacy. This facility is open to all religions and beliefs.
Furthermore, there will be another in-land ash scattering facility expected to open in 2022. Called the “Garden of Serenity,” this facility will be located at the Mandai Crematorium Complex.
How do I scatter my loved one’s ashes at the Garden of Peace?
You can head over to the NEA ePortal where you can submit an application online. Be sure to have these documents ready:
- Death certificate (original) where applicable
- Identification papers of next-of-kin
- Letter of Authorisation (if not next-of-kin)
- Other supporting documents
There will be a one-time booking fee of $320, which you can pay for online. Upon payment, you’ll receive a confirmation slip.
Bring this confirmation slip with you, along with your loved one’s ashes, to the garden’s Ash Collection Centre, where they’ll help you pulverise the ashes.
Prior to scattering ashes, you may choose to hold simple rites at the prayer garden outside of the garden. (Note that holding elaborate ceremonies/rites and burning joss sticks or candles aren’t allowed in the premises.)
From there, you can proceed to the scattering lane to scatter the ashes onto the pebbles.
Under current COVID-19 restrictions, take note that only a maximum of five people are allowed per session.
What religion allows scattering of ashes?
While cremation is allowed in Christianity and Catholicism, scattering of ashes is highly discouraged. Meanwhile, cremation is prohibited in Muslim funerals, which means that scattering of ashes aren’t allowed too.