Mon | Nov 29, 2021

Cremation the answer to problem of inadequate burial space

Published:Tuesday | April 30, 2019 | 12:00 AM


Recently, Bertel Moore, mayor of Savanna-la-Mar and chairman of the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation, publicly expressed concerns about the fast depletion of burial land. Not long before this airing, St Catherine residents vociferously opposed Dovecot’s and Meadowrest’s planned cemetery expansions.

While these concerns are quite serious, I find the stakeholders’ response to same entirely laughable. To our well-thinking officials, it seems obtaining more Crown land in low-residence areas is the best solution to our burial-ground quandary.

By now, one would certainly think that the continued expansion of cemeteries is not a sustainable fix. With our increasing death toll, very soon, the expanded lots will be exhausted; hence, there will be a natural relapse to our initial problem.

We should be looking at encouraging cremation and spreading awareness about the environmental benefits of this practice.

Bio-cremation, for example, is practised in the United States and Canada and is very eco-friendly, since it “uses less energy, produces much less carbon dioxide,” and does not emit harmful chemicals such as mercury.

This cost-effective process of disposition could take place after the body is viewed during a traditional memorial service. As such, relatives and friends would get an opportunity to pay their final respects in the usual manner.

Inarguably, if more of our dearly departed were to be cremated, much of the land spaces that are being earmarked for cemetery construction could be used for housing developments. And yes, even if such sites are unfit for infrastructural developments, they can remain preserved natural habitats.

We must discontinue the usually myopic response to our recurring problems. Let us find more equitable long-term solutions, and while we are on a quest for same, let us always consider protecting and preserving the environment for the living.