When it comes to the topic of death and being laid to rest, it can be a touchy subject for many people. From funeral arrangements to cemetery burials to cremation, the aspects surrounding a death can be confronting, but for some, they are also comforting. But what would you do if you were wanting to be buried, and we told you that cemeteries in Australia are running out of space? Would that change your mind?
Many historic cemeteries all over the country, including ones located in Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne, are suffering from limited space and an increased population, resulting in them running out of space to lay our loved ones to rest.
This is being dealt with in differing ways - for example, Karrakatta Cemetery in Perth do things a little differently, to begin with. They have what many have deemed a 'controversial renewal policy', in which burial sites are 'leased' for a particular length of time (a maximum of 25 years to begin with). If a grant of the lease expires, that land becomes the government's property again. In the case of this cemetery, the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board looks at each section of the cemetery and if there is an area which is made up of 95% or more expired leases, some headstones from older graves are removed and new graves are dug in between.
Those overseeing the renewal process give assurance that the remains of those already buried are not disturbed, and the new remains are placed in the spare ground between graves, however, the loved ones of the already deceased aren't all that happy about this. They have posed the question ' How would you feel if it was your mother's or father's headstone that was being removed? ', however, are unsure how to deal with the shortage in other ways.
Enter 'burial belts'. You'd be excused if you weren't sure that they are, but they are a proposed solution to the cemetery space shortages that are becoming more and more apparent. A burial belt is a more creative solution, in which those who have passed away would be laid to rest among native plants and trees that have been planted in 'belts' around various towns and cities.
Instead of worrying about ensuring the flowers you have placed on your loved one's grave remain fresh and alive, the idea of the burial belt is that you can walk through an area and see natural growth and vitality. Additionally, it is a positive contribution by those who wish to contribute to the world following their death and provide a better world to those left behind. There is even a suggestion that virtual reality may have a place, where you can attend the area where someone has been buried and, with your device, be able to create a virtual memorial as opposed to a physical one.
So, what do you think? Do you think that burial belts could be the answer to the shortage of space in historic cemeteries? What about the grave renewal and surrounding processes in cemeteries such as Karrakatta Cemetery in Perth? Are they a more suitable option instead? Let us know your thoughts!
ABC (Historic cemeteries around the country running out of space): https://www.abc.net.au/7.30/historic-cemeteries-around-the-country-running-out/11624914
ABC ('Burial belts' could solve our cemetery space shortage): https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/nsw-statewide-drive/burial-belts/11567322