A fear of death is a common phobia to many of us. An exploration of funeral and burial matters would present fear, uncomfortable decision-making and awkward behavior among us. However, death is still inevitable. Hence, we would eventually still need to deal with end-of-life matters.
The burial of a deceased loved one is a process involving loss and adjustment. The fundamental aspect of the funeral and burial is a public means of expressing our beliefs and feelings about the demise of the deceased person who we once loved and was important to others. It also serves to reconcile the needs of mourning and grief; and to receive support for the living to carry on as fully and healthily as possible.
Living in our pluralistic society with ever-changing values and variable cultural differences – added with an ageing population and limited land availability for burial – these social factors have influenced our planning in seeking an economical, sustainable, simple and yet memorable burial approach in providing for the deceased and their loved ones.
Furthermore, the growing awareness on global ecological issues, especially climate-change, has resulted in a worldwide initiation of “ECO” green movements. The need to safeguard earth’s natural resources and ecosystems for the benefit of our present and future generations has also contributed to the need to develop Eco-Cemeteries – hence the conceptualization of Green Burial.
Currently, Singapore offers the following:
a) Crypt Burial System (CBS),
b) Cremation system, where ashes are either kept in an urn and placed within a columbarium, or scattered within an allocated sea-area (sea burial). Cremation, within this context, is considered as being the same process of decomposition, but only scientifically accelerated and has been widely accepted among Singaporeans.
With recent developments emerging, as published in “Size of Choa Chu Kang Cemetery to be cut by one-third to make way for Tengah expansion” (The Straits Times, July 19, 2017), there is a need to acknowledge the increase of Singapore’s ageing population and the growing necessity in considering burial land concerns in future. The utilization of available land parcels by Singapore Land Authority, developers and planners for purposes such as housing, infrastructure, open space and essential public facilities has also taken precedence over the use of land for burials. In order to ensure demand does not exceed supply, there is a vital need to look for a potential alternative burial method and approach, hence the decision to work towards the realization of Green Burial within a Singapore context.
When the United Kingdom initiated the green burial process in 1993, green burial has since experienced a global emergence in recent years. Different countries such as the United Kingdom, United States of America and Europe would define “Green Burial” slightly differently. Within the Singapore context, Green Burial is defined as the deposition of the cremated remains of the deceased into the soil within a natural environment and providing an opportunity for recycling and beautifying the environment.