Here’s something you might not think about much: dying isn’t great for the environment. Cremation can release dangerous emissions into the air, badly buried corpses can poison ground water and even the best cemetery takes up a lot of space. This has lead to some pretty ingenious solutions — you can be turned into fertiliser for pot, be eaten by birds, or turned into art.
It’s also one of the reasons behind a recent proposal to build an underwater cemetery two nautical miles off Southport Spit on the Gold Coast. Speaking to The Australia, GC mayor Tom Tate explained his interest in the plan was twofold, firstly because they’re “running out of cemetery space here” and the watery grave could offer a peaceful resting place. “People will go to a happy grave among the marine life, and no one will be able to deface their tomb,” he mused.
But it could also create a unique diving opportunity and be a tourist draw. You see they don’t just submerge a bunch of coffins or urns, the ashes are mixed with environmentally-friendly materials that can be formed into shapes to create an artificial reef. Speaking to Channel 7 the mayor added, "In time to come, if people want to dive, say hello, they can do so and have a bit of fun with it."
The notion was first presented after the Gold Coast city council lost out on the opportunity to sink the HMAS Tobruk and HMAS Darwin — the historic warships would have created new dive sites. At that early stage, they were talking about building an underwater pyramid as a possible alternative. But plans were upgraded to an underwater tomb, based of Florida’s Neptune Memorial Reef.
That reef was designed as an “artistic interpretation of the lost city of Atlantis”. Spending eternity in that Atlantis will set you back about AU$6200 for a cremation and placement package.
The Gold Coast plans are still very much in the early stages, but Mayor Tate is pushing for it.