Is Incense Bad For The Environment?

We all love inhibiting different kinds of fragrances in our homes or offices. The demand for fragrance products has risen to such an extent that people even demand good fragrance products in their cars and washrooms.

Among all this, the demand for incense has risen steadily over the years as people continue to use incense sticks and products for their ease and availability.

Although people use them without realizing whether they are really good for the environment as well.

As the world is becoming more environmentally conscious day by day, it is our moral duty to ensure that whatever product we use is not only safe for us to use but is also safe for the environment and the animals around us.

Taking care of biodiversity is our responsibility as we are a part of it.

We must carefully plan our purchases and look into the products that we use to ensure that we have not left out any space for harm to the environment.

In this article, we would understand this aspect of one such product: incense. We would first understand what exactly is incense and then understand the impacts of incense on the environment and whether it is bad for the environment.


Let us now understand what incense is all about. Incense is simply a material that emanates fragrance mixed with smoke when it is ignited. It can be commonly found in almost all households these days.

See also  Is Palm Sugar Bad for the Environment?

For a lot of reasons, incense is used in religious functions, worship ceremonies, therapies, and even some forms of yoga and meditation.

It is believed that aromatherapy helps one relax and rejuvenate, by clearing one’s mind and using the fragrance to induce new and better thought patterns.

The components of incense often also contain some oils that are infused with other particles to make the incense into a solid form so that it can be burned easily. The combustion in incense can occur using various methods, but the purpose is the same.

The first trace of combustible incense-like objects can be traced back to the time of early Egyptian civilization.

Over the years, they came to be used for meditation and other rituals as well. It was believed that they help please the Gods and keep the demons away.

In a nutshell, it is also believed that the incense helped spread positive energy and discard negative energy.

In other civilizations, incense has been found in the Indus Valley Civilisation and some parts of ancient China as well.

Let us now understand the impact they have on our environment.

Impact Of Incense On The Environment

The impact of incense can be understood by its constituents. An average incense is made of wood powder, adhesive, and bamboo to some extent.

Since burning them releases particulate matter, in large quantities, they are sometimes even more harmful the burning cigarettes.

Burning an insect produces benzene, xylenes, and other gaseous compounds. This causes grave air pollution which is not just harmful to the environment but also harmful to the human body.

See also  Which Energy Source Is Least Harmful To The Environment?

They can easily lead to certain respiratory tract infections and lung disorders.

The practice of burning incense is common in Central and Eastern Asia.

This is probably why the levels of pollution and the general health in the cases of lung diseases in these populations are generally observed to be higher than the other counterparts.

The strange mix of chemical compounds and harmful substances that are burned in the incense may although smell great for a while they are doing more harm to you and the environment than good.

Since the incense burning practices are not limited to the burning of one single incense and rather inhibit the continuous burning of about 3-4 or even more incense, it is an easy carrier of pollution and producer of gases like carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, etc.

The most common pollutants in incense include particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, other hydrocarbons, and toxic gaseous substances.

Apart from the harmful effects on humans, these gases and compounds are proven to adversely affect plants in the surroundings and also the animals living nearby.

This is why the natural habitat of various species of birds, microorganisms, and domesticated pets is affected as they are forced to breathe in toxic gases.

This in turn affects the food we eat as the toxic substances then mix with the soil and are observed by them, with water it also passes further and mixed with our food.

This is the food we consume, and as we are already dermatologically and respiratory affected by it, the incense ends up affecting our gastronomic organs and the intestines.

See also  Is Nutella Bad for Environment?

Thus, what seems to be a mere innocent act of traditional and cultural practice is acting to another worldwide climate crisis as slowly, it is affecting our atmosphere, the balance of gases in the air, and the food cycle along with our biodiversity.

The high pressure thus created because of burning the incense is unfavorable for us and is indeed a bad impact on our lives and the environment.


Therefore, in this article, we learned about what incense is and about its various uses.

As we all now know, incense is utilized in the religious ceremonies of many regions, especially Asia and East Asian countries.

Although incense has multiple uses, we do not often realize the impact it can have on the environment.

It is extremely crucial to think about the impact of each of our actions on the environment.

With each conscious thought of how we impact the environment, we can ensure that we engage in more activities and consume more products that are environmentally conscious.

Incense, when burned releases several toxic gases, especially ones that contribute heavily to greenhouse gases as well.

Besides affecting the environment, the burning of incense also negatively affects our respiratory system and skin.

Thus, with so many disadvantages and only a few advantages, it becomes crucial to replace traditional incense products with other organic substances or to stop their use entirely.



Most Recent