My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Jamaica running out of Burial Space - How to recycle the Dead as land for Agriculture and Housing

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Jamaica running out of Burial Space - How to recycle the Dead as land for Agriculture and Housing

I thought this day would never come; Jamaica is running out of land to bury dead people.  

So says the Chairman of the Council and Mayor of Spanish Town Norman Scott has announced plans to spend some JA$17 million to expand the Church Pen Public Cemetery in Old Harbour as reported in the article “St Catherine Parish Council Working To Address Burial Space Shortage”, published Thursday August 27, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Most of the cemeteries in Spanish Town had reached their capacity. To that end, the St Catherine Parish Council has decided to secure more land to deal with the shortage of space in cemeteries.

This plan came to light while he and Local Government Minister Noel Arscott toured a new ten (10) acre plot of land that was to extend the Church Pen Public Cemetery in Old Harbour.

The ten (10) acre was part of phase one of the expansion of the Cemetery, with an additionally five (25) acres of land to be utilized in the future as part of a second phase to expand the cemetery.

Plans for this land include a chapel, a crematorium and an area to bury infants.

But aside from the sticker shock that I got from the price of this expansion, was another shocker; Local Government Minister Noel Arscott plans to expand this concept to the rest of Jamaica’s cemeteries, as they too are facing overcrowding by the dead.

Isn't there another way to dispose of the dead than using land?

Jamaica running out or Burial Space - Jamaican Religious culture to blame

This islandwide shortage of burial land isn't a new problem, as it's been quietly reported in the Gleaner since November 2014 as reported in the article “Jamaica Running Out Of Public Burial Space”, published Tuesday November 11, 2014 by Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Part of the problem has to do with Jamaica's religious culture; we're mostly Protestant Christians, who've inherited a religion from our slave masters. This religion specifies that in order to go to heaven, you have to be buried in a Church, Family or Public Cemetery, with an elaborate ritual whose opulence is said to indicate the level of importance you had while alive.

The more persons that come to your funeral and the level of people that come to your funeral, the more important you were. This too is reflected in the type of casket you’re buried in, the funeral home your family can afford and even the Church that'll do the last rites.

But couldn't all this be avoided by recycling humans being?

Recycling the Dead Jamaican - How to recycle the dead via Cremations, Organ Transplants to Green Burials

After all, humans are nothing more than organic based machines that have parts that work together, moved by the laws of Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics.

Why not just simply pass a law to cremate all remains of all Jamaicans instead as argued by NEPA (National Environment and Planning Agency) in May 2015 in the article “Consider Cremation As An Alternative To Burying- NEPA”, published Thursday April 2, 2015 by Jodi-Ann Gilpin, The Jamaica Gleaner?

That is, after they harvest healthy organs and blood from the persons before they died to be used in medical procedure to save the lives of many Jamaicans needing certain organs.

You could still have the expensive funeral, but minus the burial. Better yet, by mandating that all burials be green burials, i.e. buried without being chemical treated.

The human remains would naturally rot and be converted by the elements back to the soil, allowing the land to be later re-used for housing or agriculture as argued by owner of House of Tranquillity Funeral Homes, Joseph Cornwall as explained in the article “Make Green Burials Mandatory, Urges Funeral Home Operator”, published Monday June 22, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner.

The relatives or spouse of the dead could keep the remains or have them buried under a tree, benefitting the environment as their burnt remains are rich in phosphorus and carbon, which is great for growing plants. They can even have a burial at sea, with the relatives of the deceased scattered to the winds benefitting plants and animals.

Expanding Cemeteries is bad – Jamaica needs land for Agriculture and Housing

Expanding cemeteries runs counter to the logic of the Ministry of Agriculture as well as the Ministry of Land and Housing, which need more land to grow more food for Jamaica's ever increasing population.

But my idea and the ideas of NEPA and owner of House of Tranquility Funeral Homes, Joseph Cornwall will face an uphill struggle against a cultured deeply rooted in a religious rite that has largely been the result of Slavery and then the subsequent Colonialism.

Otherwise for the sake of the dead, we'll run out of land space to grow enough food, ironic as we already import most of the food that we eat as opined in my blog article entitled “Jamaica's Basic Item Food Bill mostly from 1st World Countries - Buy Jamaican Build Jamaica made from Imported Raw Materials in containers that says Made in Jamaica”.

If this continues, we may be unable to import food due to the world population ballooning to  billion by 2030 and then 11.2 billion by 2011 as explained in my blog article entitled “United Nations Population Division says 11.2 billion people by 2100 - Why Africa and India Population exploding as Insect Meat is coming”. 

Without land, we won’t be able to house the expected population of 4 million who'll be living on this little island by 2030, also another crisis that’s slowly coming to a boil on Jamaica Land we Love.

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