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Cremation more common as 'green' pressures grow

2011/04/04 22:15:09

Taipei, April 4 (CNA) Cremation has become the dominant form ofdealing with the dead in Taiwan as cemetery spots grow increasinglyscarce and environmental awareness takes on greater importance,reversing a traditional preference for burials.

Just over nine-tenths (90.04 percent) of those who died in Taiwanin 2010 were cremated, compared with 45.87 percent in 1993, theMinistry of the Interior said Monday, reflecting the trend towardmore eco-friendly funerals around the world.

Since 2003, a growing number of Taiwanese have chosen to havetheir ashes buried under trees and flowers or sprinkled over the sea,rather than having their ashes stored at a temple or a columbarium,ministry officials said.

Besides being more eco-friendly, such "greener" funerals alsohelp the family of the deceased keep expenses down, saving up to NT$1million (US$34,200) that having the body interred in a well-locatedtomb would cost.

According to the ministry, 11 public cemeteries in Taiwan offerplaces for people to bury their relatives' ashes under trees orflowers.

The ministry noted the "green" trend on the eve of Tomb SweepingDay, where people honor and remember their ancestors at grave sites,but the practice may take different forms in the future if fewerpeople are buried in cemeteries.

Taipei, Tainan and Kaohsiung cities and Yilan and Kinmencounties, for instance, now offer websites on which relatives can payhomage to their deceased family members online, ministry officialssaid.

(By Lin Shen-hsu and Deborah Kuo)