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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 November 2006, 18:59 GMT
Hong Kong promotes green coffins
Carrie Yau (left) looks at an eco-coffin in Japan
Hong Kong officials plan further study of the eco-coffins
The Hong Kong government has come up with a plan to help the environment and cut crematorium congestion at the same time - the eco-coffin.

The corrugated cardboard coffins produce fewer harmful emissions when burnt, something which would help to improve Hong Kong's pollution-hit air.

They also take less than half the time of wooden coffins to burn, cutting waiting times at busy crematoria.

Hong Kong families can wait up to 10 days for an open slot at a crematorium.

"With less time required for each session, we can arrange more sessions per day to cut queuing time for cremation," Permanent Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food Carrie Yau said after a visit to an eco-coffin company in Japan.

The eco-coffins could face opposition from residents, for whom spending on funerals is a sign of respect for the dead.

But Ms Yau said the government would continue to study the coffins and promote their use.

"The eco-coffin coincides with the philosophy of the integration of humans and nature," she said.

"Due respect is given to the deceased, regardless of a simple or magnificent coffin."

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