Traditional coffins would not be used in an eco-burial as they don't biodegrade.

Eco-graveyard a possibility

A local campaign group wants to meet City Hall officials with a view to getting an eco-graveyard on Leeside, the Cork Independent has learned.

The next step for the recently formed Campaign for an Eco Burial Space Cork group is to talk to the general public about eco burials and the campaign as well as liaise with officials from Cork City Council with a view to choosing a suitable place for this type of burial.

Niamh O’Reilly from the group told the Cork Independent that it will be up to the council to find a suitable place, whether that be a new plot of land or an existing burial space.

They said: “This type of burial is a more environmentally conscious option. The body would not be embalmed, which is generally regarded to be unnecessary, and wooden coffins wouldn’t be used as they aren’t really that biodegradable. The idea is that you leave no trace behind.

“In most traditional graveyards only one type of grass is used but in an eco-graveyard there’s local trees and plants so you would have space for animals and a greenspace. The markings for the grave would be a lot smaller so this graveyard would have more of a park aesthetic where your loved ones can go after their death.”

When asked if people would be buried naked or dressed, they said: “People can be dressed as long as the fabrics will biodegrade but it’s up to people how they want their loved ones to be presented.” 

They also said there are companies that supply willow coffins which will biodegrade. 

“That would give you a coffin without using a shiny lacquered wood one with mental fixings that would be in the earth forever,” they added. 

They said they think people will have a positive reaction to this as people are becoming more environmentally conscious.

They said religious ceremonies can still take place as normal, adding that the only aspect which would be different is that the burial would be in an eco-graveyard rather than a traditional graveyard. 
When asked about any potential odours, Niamh said that the body would be buried deep enough so that it wouldn’t be an issue.

The campaign group welcomed the fact that a motion, from Green Party Cllr Oliver Moran, was passed at Monday’s Cork City Council meeting.
The motion called for Cork City Council to report on the possibility of supporting an eco-graveyard. Cllr Moran said there is support for the concept in the city.

He added: “I’m taken aback by the interest and support for the idea, even from people who wouldn’t be natural environmentalists. There’s a genuine interest that in death people would exist at peace with the world and nature. 
“There’s something really moving about that.”

One person who wants to be buried in this way is Blackpool resident Mark Cronin.

He said: “Eco-graveyards and eco-burial is becoming more of a feature in Britain and the USA. It reflects a growing awareness among people of the lasting damage being done to the environment and biodiversity by human activity.
“Traditional cemeteries contribute to loss of biodiversity and pollute the soils through chemical additives.” 

Mark continued: “They become an animal-free area. Even in death, humans can prevent the natural cycle of nature. 
“Eco-graveyards aim to be a natural, peaceful and wooded place, where loved ones are commemorated without hindrance to nature,” he concluded.