Sat, Mar 30, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Cremation numbers rise

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen, second left, speaks as National Fire Agency Deputy Director Chiang Chi-jen, second right, and others look on at a news conference at the Ministry of the Interior in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The number of people being cremated or getting “green” burials is increasing, the Ministry of the Interior said yesterday ahead of Tomb Sweeping Day, which falls on Friday next week.

Cremations reached a record of 96.3 percent in 2017, up from 88.1 percent in 2008, ministry data showed.

The ratio of green burials — such as tree, flower and sea burials in which incense is not burned and steles are not erected — increased from 0.47 percent in 2008 to 4.5 percent in 2017, meaning 7,743 people were buried that way in 2017, the data showed.

Local customs are evolving with an aging population, while funeral operations and facilities have been modernized and made environmentally friendly, the ministry said.

There are 36 venues across the nation for green burials, with a list on the ministry’s Web site, it said.

The Taipei City Government said it provides green burial services for free.

In flower and tree burials, the ashes are buried in a designated park, while in sea burials, the ashes are placed in a paper box and placed in the ocean in a ceremony on a boat.

The increase in environmental burials can be attributed to people having fewer children and being more inclined to pay their respects to the deceased in ways that are simpler than traditional methods, Taipei Mortuary Service Office head Hong Jin-da (洪進達) said.

Meanwhile, the ministry reminded people to extinguish fires and collect garbage after tomb sweeping activities on the public holiday, as joss paper, or ghost money, that is left burning could spark larger fires.

A total of 2,157 fires were reported from March 24 to April 8 last year, up from 1,958 in the same period in 2017, it said.

People could offer flowers and fruit, and limit the use of joss paper and incense sticks to prevent fire and air pollution, it said.

Additional reporting by CNA

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