Burials at sea are becoming more popular in Shanghai, with applications increasing by 3% annually according to the Shanghai Daily.
Demand has outpaced the government’s current resources, as currently only two ferryboats embark on 20 trips annually, with each ferry able to transport 250 individuals per trip. Gao Jianhua, director of the Funeral Services Center at the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau, explained this has resulted in applicants waiting up to one year to ensure their deceased family member’s burial at sea. Gao added that inclement weather, Shanghai’s declining ferry business, and the reluctance of ferry owners to participate in sea burials for superstitious reasons.
The government has promoted sea burials as a cheaper and more efficient alternative to burials on land. Projections state that by 2025, 20 million Chinese will die annually, and as the Ministry of Civil Affairs asserts, in the next ten years, the majority of provinces will no longer have space to bury their dead.
By Sophia Solivo
[Image via Flickr]