Bulawayo residents have once again been urged to embrace cremation, as an alternative to burial as the city is running out of burial space.
Cremation is a method of final disposition of a dead body through burning and is an alternative to burial.
A grave booking at Athlone costs $US53 while burial space at Luveve cemetery costs $US43 while cremation during the week is U$34 and on the weekend is US$39.
In a month, Bulawayo reportedly cremates about 20 people, which is far less than the number of people who are buried per day.
However, some people frown upon cremation due to cultural, traditional or religious beliefs.
Presenting the revised 2022 budget for the City of Bulawayo last week, Chairperson of the Finance and Development Committee, Councillor Tawanda Ruzive, said ZWL$377.6 million would be spent by the local authority for the maintenance of cemeteries and the crematorium.
“A proposed budget of ZWL$377.6 million has been made for the maintenance of cemeteries and crematorium, as well for related staff costs. Cremation is coming, I don’t know if our residents are ready for that but it is coming,” he said.
Councillor Ruzive said there was a need for maintenance in Bulawayo cemeteries namely Luveve, Hyde Park, West Park, Athlone and Umvutsha which was to come on board under council.
Councillor Silas Chigora concurred that the council needed to save space and cut financial costs and one of the ways to do so was for residents to embrace cremation.
“We are running out of space for burials and my suggestion the solution could be maybe people take up cremation as an option.”
Cllr Chigora acknowledged cremation was a contentious subject for citizens due to their various belief systems.
“But cremation can save space and money. In terms of costs, cremation costs less than digging graves, we can save money by adopting and accepting cremation as an option of burial,” he said.
He also encouraged councils to make cremation even cheaper to entice more people.
“We should make cremation even cheaper, once we cut on costs we can even extend that cut to beneficiaries to the deceased, to say half of the costs are going to be catered for by council then people cover the other costs. These are the benefits for cremating.”