Challenges of Green Burial

To promote Green Burial in Singapore, the challenges will be awareness and concept knowledge, Sociocultural and Planning.

Awareness and Concept Knowledge Challenges
At present, awareness and concept knowledge in green burials is low, especially in Singapore context. Most information that public receiving is from incidental sources. Therefore, an extensive of awareness and education campaigns -TV, Radio talk and Road shows etc. will be effective. There is also a need to have community consultation with religious groups or online discussions.

Sociocultural Challenges
Singapore is a multiracial, multi-religious and cultural society, hence, need to be considered in green burial practice to facilitate the needs of these groups in term of validation and solace; memorialization and burial –“ru tu wei an” 入土为安.

Validation and Solace
In the absence of a headstone, bereaved visitors could be imaginative in conceptualizing the uniqueness of the deceased’s grave by using shrubs and trees as a living memorial as identity of the deceased and recorded on crematory map and burial register.

Creating a walking pathway with benches allow “a sense of connection” between themselves the nature and their loved ones.

Wall niche memorial: name of the deceased, date of birth and date of death as emotional agents. As cremated remains of the deceased will be buried in soil, filled the needs of “ru tu wei an” 入土为安.

Green Burial approaches offers few means for memorialization integrating with deceased’s living relatives, hence, employing online memorials could be serve as a means to encourage human relational and environmentally-sensitive burial:

Virtual Memorialization: Permanent website offers direct, individual memorialization opportunity.

Visualized viewing: using Google Earth and Google Sketch Up:
Cemetery maps are embedded on the Google globe
Balloons mark particular deceased’s burial location. When expired I/C number is keyed in, 3D trees with deceased photo will appear
Facebook, a personalized memorialization wall

Planning and Implementation Challenges
Planners and land management authorities, e.g. NEA etc. to determine sustainability of Green Burial:

Best use for burial lands
Economic realization of highest
Social implications
How to best monitor and manage the environmental sustainability sites
The formulation of best practice guidelines
To monitor the then ongoing environmental feasibility of sites
Given the ‘newness’ of the concept of green burials there is the need for further research

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