03:26 GMT +317 July 2018
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    Chinese City Offers Rewards to Senior Residents Choosing Eco-Friendly Funeral

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    The government of the city of Wenling in East China's Zhejiang province has introduced a measure granting monthly rewards to elderly residents who choose ecological burial after their death.

    In order to promote eco-friendly burial, Wenling offers senior residents money from the civil affairs bureau if they sign an agreement choosing sea burial after they decease.

    People aged 70-80 years get 100 yuan ($15,9) monthly, and every decade additional 100 yuan is added to the sum. A 100-year-old person can count on 400 yuan monthly.

    Ahead of Tomb-sweeping Day on April 5, a traditional spring festival during which the Chinese honour their ancestors, fisherman Dai Yuyin and his wife, a couple in their 70s, signed an agreement to have their ashes scattered at sea.

    ​"I'm a fisherman. The sea is like my home. I would like to be back home after I die," Dai said, as cited by China Daily.

    Chinese tradition holds that the dead should be buried in coffins beside their ancestors, but the custom has put a strain on the populous country's land resources. Thus, green funerals are becoming increasingly popular in China.

    "I want to have my ashes scattered at sea, or some other environmentally friendly method of burial," said 27-year-old Gao Yihuan from Xiamen, Fujian province. "Cemeteries are depressing. I'd rather be closer to nature."

    China's Ministry of Civil Affairs issued a guideline this month that set a national goal to have green ceremonies make up 50 percent of the annual total by 2020.    

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