|Cot Village Cemetery in Ha Noi's Cau Giay District. Most cemeteries in urban districts are overcrowded, and new cemeteries face many obstacles. — Photo phunutoday.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — A shortage of land for cemeteries in Ha Noi is causing pressure on the planning and expanding of cemeteries, officials said.
Khuat Van Thanh, director of Ha Noi's Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said most of cemeteries in urban districts were overcrowded and had been closed while the building of new cemeteries faced a lot of obstacles.
The planning of cemeteries was necessary to reduce pollution, exploit the land more effectively and to ensure the city's civility, he said.
Two teams of inspectors from Ha Noi's People's Committee have conducted regular inspections on the management of cemeteries in the city. Results showed that a loose management was among the main causes of degradation and an unhygienic situation there.
In many localities, especially those in suburban areas, graves are scattered between rice fields, affecting agricultural production.
Due to rapid urbanisation, there exist many cemeteries in residential areas.
Besides, a lot of cemeteries lack a waste water treatment system or green trees which cause environmental pollution for surrounding areas.
Pham Hung Tien, deputy chairman of Thanh Tri District's People's Committee, said although the district had 16 communes and townships, it had 67 cemeteries.
Most of cemeteries had existed for a long time and were not well-organised, he said. This causes difficulties for local authorities in persuading residents to relocate the graves.
Statistics from the city's department of Labour, Invalid and Social Affair show that the total land occupied by cemeteries throughout Ha Noi is 2,744ha.
According to a plan approved by the Prime Minister, by 2050, the total land occupied by cemeteries will be half of the current figure. It means that existing cemeteries which are scattered, located near residential areas or have been planned for another purpose will be closed.
Inspections also pointed out that the relocation of cemeteries needs approval from local residents.
Cremation is more common than burial in some countries but in Viet Nam burial is more popular. Many Vietnamese choose burial due to their customs and beliefs.
Nguyen Thi Ha, 70, who lives in Thanh Xuan District, said that she asked her children to bury her after she dies because she is afraid of being burnt by fire.
Experts said cremation was a modern method which could not only protect the environment but also reduce expenditure for building graves and relocating them.
In the future, more and more people will choose cremation because the population rises rapidly while the land area stays the same.
Ha Noi's People's Committee has since 2010 implemented mechanism to support cremation in the city for the 2013 to15 period.
Under this mechanism, financial support will be offered to each of the dead people's family who live in Ha Noi. This support will include two categories: Dead children under six will receive VND1.5 million (US$66) while adults will receive VND3 million ($133).
The city has spent VND204 billion ($9 million) in assistance to 55,000 cases since 2013.
The implementation of the program proved effective as the number of cremations has increased gradually every year. The percentage of cremations in the city has grown from about 18.5 per cent to 46.8 per cent since 2010.
The city's Department of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs has proposed Ha Noi authorities should extend the duration of the program to 2020, aiming at achieving the target of 90 per cent of urban citizens and 60 per cent of suburban citizens choose cremation. — VNS