Crematorium for city long overdue

THE City of uMhlathuze’s approach to cemetery and crematorium provision is a progressive and welcome one.

Looking ahead, in the light of rapid urbanisation coupled with land shortages, the fact is that soon we will not be able to provide enough graves for the projected number of deaths in the medium to long term.

It is a looming crisis.

Two things would change the ‘grave’ outlook regarding burial provision.

One would be a thorough investigation of alternate methods of laying loved ones to rest – and there are numerous options presently implemented or under consideration in countries around the world, given that this is a common problem.

However, cultural and spiritual beliefs make this far more than a mere issue of the physical disposal of human remains.

Burials at cemeteries have for centuries been the favoured, traditional option as a final resting place.

But while the concept of a cemetery (which also forms part of the green footprint within urban areas) as a place where one can visit in a serene atmosphere in remembrance and honour of the deceased, the fact is many graves are not visited by following generations.

Added to this, cemeteries are often unsafe and are places where crime and vandalism regularly occur.

Furthermore, environmental and health impacts, for example on groundwater, must also be considered.

Cremations, which do not undermine the dignity of a fitting farewell to the physical component of a human being, would be one logical way of addressing the issue of what to do with the remains of the departed.

Wisely, the city knows the provision and operation of a crematorium is not part of its core business, and it is seeking the public sector to undertake such a venture.

With the closest crematoria located at Stanger and eShowe, one would think this would be a wonderful business opportunity within the city – but previous calls were met with poor response.

There is also the opportunity for a resting place for pets, and again, a pet crematorium with a wall of remembrance should be welcomed by the thousands of animal lovers who sadly say goodbye to their beloved animals.

Perhaps some philanthropist developer could invest in this as a fund-raising project for the SPCA?

Ronelle Ramsamy
Deputy Editor

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