Too desperate for land? NEA’s new sea burial facility at Tanah Merah draws mixed reactions

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The National Environment Agency (NEA) is building a new sea burial facility along the shoreline in Tanah Merah that will make it easier for those who opt to do sea burials for their loved ones without having to rent a boat.

The facility, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2019, will include a boardwalk that extends into the sea to allow member of the public of all races and religions to scatter ashes. It will also feature four pavilions that will accommodate seven people each and a shelter than can accommodate 28 people, according to the Chinese daily.

The scattering of ashes at sea may cost about $100 without any ritual or between $400-$480 with rituals. According to undertakers who spoke with reporters, this is significantly more affordable than the minimum $1,200 it would take to place ashes in a niche at a columbarium.

Despite the agency’s assurances that this is only one option for the bereaved to consider and that thorough consultancy studies and a study on the environmental impact of building such a facility at Tanah Merah will be undertaken, netizens have been left with mixed reactions.

While some welcomed the proposed facility, others questioned whether Singapore is running out of land to house the deceased. Still others questioned the location of the facility, with it being so close to public beaches, while other netizens had concerns about the impact the scattering of ashes at local waters will have on the environment: