China's plateau region promotes eco-friendly funerals

Northwest China's Qinghai Province announced the granting of subsidies to encourage eco-friendly funerals in the plateau region, local civil affairs authorities said.

According to the newly released guideline which will take effect on June 1, the government will grant 3,000 yuan (about 460 U.S. dollars) to people who choose cremation and scatter ashes of their deceased relatives in approved public cemeteries or bury ashes in biodegradable urns.

People who choose to scatter ashes on lawns and other environmentally friendly funerals will be subsidized.

Chinese tradition holds that the dead should be buried in urns beside their ancestors, which is seen as an obligation of filial piety.

But the custom has put a strain on the populous country's arable land, forests, grassland and other environmental resources.

To deal with the problem, Chinese authorities have promoted eco-friendly burials such as cremations and sea burials across the country in recent years.