Trend toward green burials on the rise in Taiwan: ministry

04/02/2017 06:31 PM
(File photo)
(File photo)

Taipei, April 2 (CNA) Taiwan saw 9,136 green burials in 2015, a huge jump from 3,910 in 2014 and 246 in 2006, highlighting the growing trend among Taiwanese to deal with death in a more environmentally friendly way, the Ministry of Interior said Sunday.

It is traditionally believed in Taiwan that the deceased should be buried in cemeteries so that their souls can rest in peace.

But following the government's promotion of cremation in recent years, even more people in Taiwan have become receptive to green burials -- including scattering the ashes of their loved ones under a tree at a designated area or at sea, the ministry said.

Green burials offer a sustainable, natural alternative to conventional burials and do not take up precious land, the ministry said, adding that the ashes kept under trees or covered by flowers become part of the soil within one to two years without causing any pollution.

Among well-known people who have opted for tree burial was Lee Yuan-tsu (李元簇), who served as vice president under Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and died in March.

Whether or not people opt for more environmentally friendly burials, the trend toward cremation is undeniable, ministry figures showed.

Some 95.65 percent of the people who died in Taiwan in 2015 were cremated, up from 85.83 percent in 2006, according to ministry data.

At the same time, statistics from local public mortuary facilities indicate that in 2015, there were 152,802 cases of people storing the ashes of the deceased, up 33.97 percent from 2006, and 32,840 cases of people storing the physical remains of the deceased, down 32.7 percent from 2006.

(By Hsieh Chia-chen and Lee Hsin-Yin) ENDITEM/ls

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