Monday, 21 July 2014
In the UK, there are around 150,000 people each year requiring burial. By 2020, a quarter of local councils will have run out of room in their graveyards and will not be able to bury the dead. In London, six boroughs have already stopped permitting new burials. Some grieving families are being charged up to 3 times more to have their loved ones buried in other councils' graveyards. And some graveyards are only allowing new burials into existing graves i.e. for families who already have plots with spare space.
And this is with Britain having one of the highest cremation rates in the world (around 70%). There are other non-burial alternatives to cremation available, such as Cryomation (freeze someone and then vibrate the body until it shatters into dust), Resomation (dissolve a body in a heated alkaline solution) or making cremation a (potentially) more attractive option by taking the remains one step further and turning them into a diamond, using them in paint to have a painting made with them, or repurposing them as a vinyl record, a teapot or some other practical household item! Yet there needs to remain respect for religious strictures, such as in Islam and Judaism where cremation is not allowed and each grave can only hold 1 body.
What are the options?
- Make more graveyards by repurposing other spaces, like allotments or playgrounds
- Reuse abandoned graveyards (requires Ministry of Justice approval), which needs the old caskets to be dug up, the grave dug even deeper, and the caskets reburied, allowing newer internments on top
- Leave your body to science
- Introduce a reuse timeframe. In Germany, graves are only left for 30 years before being reused (the previous inhabitants being dug up and their remains cremated). In Britain, various governments have been petitioned to introduce a 100-year reuse timeframe, but it isn't seen as an important enough issue to make it onto the agenda
- Start burying up, rather than down. Venice has it's own dedicated cemetery island, where there are rows of tombs resembling chests of drawers
It's getting to be a serious problem for those wanting a burial. Let us know in the comments what you want to happen.