Funeral directors in Norway discovered a problem caused by a 30-year burial practice in the country of wrapping corpses in plastic before burying them. The plastic wrap, similar to one used to keep sandwiches fresh, is the reason the dead bodies do not rot.
Now, the country is beginning to feel the impact of that perceived more sanitary practice of burying the dead in terms of scarce burial sites. Funeral directors are now scrambling for new space to bury the new corpses.
There are now about 350,000 plastic-wrapped bodies that refuse to rot and they must soon give way for the new dead, unless their living relatives are willing to pay a yearly fee for the space used.
Kjell Larsen Ostbye, a former graveyard worker, introduced a solution to the problem to hasten the decomposition of the buried corpses without having to dig them, Gizmondo reports.
He dug holes into the ground that penetrated the wooden coffins and the plastic wraps. He then injected a lime-based solution to speed up the decomposition process to a maximum of 12 months. The process takes just 10 minutes each, but with 350,000 graves to do that, Mr Ostbye would certainly be very busy in the years to come.
So far he has treated more than 17,000 graves in different Norwegian cities, which at $670 per plot, had earned him a cool $11.4 million!
Many families have given their permission for Mr Ostbye to do the treatment and only few rejected the idea. Norwegians are now recognising their mistake in using plastic wrap which had deprived the succeeding generation of gravesites.
But the real winner in this situation are the makers of plastic wrappers since they have a 30-year proof that their products are indeed very effective in keeping food fresh, and even dead human bodies.