In the wake of overcrowding in our public cemeteries and the scarcity of land in Accra for the creation of new ones, the Metro Public Health Department (MPHD) of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has evolved a plan to recycle graves older than 20 years, to make room for new burials.
The MPHD’s Director, Mr Victor Acquaye, in an interview with The Mirror, said his outfit has plans to open up the western section of the Awudome cemetery for development into a modern well-spaced and landscaped cemetery.
With the current overcrowded state of the public cemeteries, burying the dead in homes and at church compounds would have been thought to be a good idea but Mr Acquaye says though the practice is legal, it must not be encouraged.
He noted that people who die of contagious diseases could pose some danger to others who live in the home as well as to neighbours of the burial site.
According to Mr Acquaye, strict environmental standards must be followed before burials are carried out in locations other than those designated as public cemeteries.
To him, such locations should not be close to private taps and public water sources.
Before the arrival of Christianity and Islam, most Africans were said to have buried their dead at home. The practice is still common in many parts of the three northern regions of Ghana.
After the introduction of those two religions which were said to have advocated for the burial of the the dead in designated cemeteries, that practice became the norm across the country.
Recently however, some wealthy families in Accra have shown preference for burying their loved ones at home, partly as a result of the scarcity of space in public burial sites as well as for some cultural beliefs.
While admitting that it is possible for the MPHD of the AMA to grant permits to some people to bury their dead at homes and at church compounds, Mr Acquaye said such permits could only be granted after written applications and that MPHD Director should be satisfied with a number of conditions.