Cutting the Cost of a Grave
I’s a grave situation. Many major cities are running out of space to bury their dead. Cemeteries are beginning to look at the prospect of shared graves.Cape Town’s cemeteries are the same.
There are some European countries that use old graves after a couple of decades. In the UK and the USA graves are regarded as permanent.
The Double-Decker Grave Concept
Laws are however changing, and even in the UK there are efforts to make their cemeteries more sustainable. Cemetery staff are starting to dig up old remains, reburying them deeper, and then burying fresh corpses on top of those. These are referred to as double-decker graves.
When you buy a burial plot for yourself, you have a number of options in terms of the type of plot you invest in as well as the way you’re going to pay for it. Most people don’t relish the idea of buying a burial plot and having to share it with some stranger, but the Mother City is having to look at all sorts of different ways to bury their dead.
A problem in Cape Town is the high water table around the city, and this is what makes it difficult to find new cemetery sites. The city has however fairly recently extended it’s land to include Khayelitsha, Grassy Park and Welmoed Cemeteries and also developed new cemeteries in Delft, Wallacedene and Somerset West.
Deeper Graves to Free Up More Space
Capetonians can consider themselves fortunate. In Ekurhuleni, they are making provision to bury not 2, but 3 people on top of one another, and to this end are digging their graves 3m deep now instead of the usual 2m.
Another alternative to conventional burials include is double or triple decker burials. There are also cremation, sea burials, grave recycling and alkaline hydrolysis. The city of Cape Town has also added a new clause in their bye-law which makes it possible for people to offer graves to the city if they no longer need them.
The city has also considered establishing more mausoleums after the success of their Maitland Mausoleum. This cemetery is Cape Town’s largest and has all but run out of grave space. Not to be outdone, the cemetery has above-ground concrete crypts in the form of a mausoleum. Certainly these mausoleums are easy to maintain and they take up less space than cemeteries.
A Worthwhile Cost Incentive
If you are prepared to share a grave with someone else, you can cut 40% off the price of a burial plot which is known as a densified burial area.
Second burials where you are buried on top of another family member is a practice being encouraged in Cape Town for more space. This is a worthwhile consideration, especially when its a family member that you are sharing with and in a city where land is becoming scare and money scarcer.