60% of the deceased in Zaragoza are incinerated

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Since 2008 there are more incinerations than burials in Zaragoza. Torrero cemetery adapts to social changes, with a new columbarium and garden for ashes. There is no legislation in Spain on the scattering of ashes.
• The incinerations already represent 60% of the burials in the cemetery of Zaragoza, according to data from the City Council. Until the beginning of October, 4.350 people died in Zaragoza, of which near 2.640 have been incinerated.

Torrero cemetery was a pioneer in incineration in Spain because it installed one of the first furnaces in the country in 1979. The number of incinerations grows each year. In 2007 the percentage of incineration and burials were the same. In 2008, the incineration grew up to 53%; at the end of 2011, they were 58% and now, more than 60%.

“The cemetery is open to new habits and social uses. “We are adapting our services to citizen demands”, state sources of the cemetery. Families who choose the incineration can afterwards take the ashes home or to use cemetery services: Columbarium and the garden for ashes.

The rates of the Columbarium for a five-year concession oscillate between the 7.90 to 23.10 euros (depending on the row). A marble plate costs 105 euros.

The ashes of 30 people have been buried in this pay area (one of them in a biodegradable urn and 29 in conventional urns). The permit for its use for five years costs 23.10 euros. In the case of the conventional urns, after five years, they must renew the lease or to remove the ashes. In addition, the cemetery offers placement of an aromatic plant and a commemorative plaque. The fee for placing these elements and their maintenance for five years is 100 euros plus VAT.

Dozens of people have chosen the free zone. In this case there is a record. Families head towards the garden and they deposit the ashes there, anonymously and without the help of any operator. The garden is watered twice a day, allowing ashes to seep among  the stones and to be deposited on the sand layer.

What can you do with the ashes?
With the gradual increase of incineration in all Spain, the debate about what can be done with the ashes began. Scattering of ashes is not regulated in our country and, in principle, everyone is free to take them wherever they want.

“With the exception of the rules issued by some municipalities – in Malaga, Almonte and some coastal municipalities of the Basque country-, there are not in our country any rules of general nature governing the obligation of depositing the ashes in the cemeteries”. In other countries, such as France and Germany, there is a strict law.