Sri Lankans begin using cardboard coffins for cremation

A number of Sri Lankans have begun using cardboard coffins for cremation, the Reuters news agency reported.

At a factory in the Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia city, workers are using staples and glue to assemble long cardboard boxes, which will be used as coffins for some of the country’s coronavirus victims.

The coffin is made out of recycled paper and costs a sixth of the cheapest wooden one, according to 51-year old Priyantha Sahabandu, the local Government official who first came up with the idea.

As Sri Lanka’s death toll from COVID-19 surges, some are opting for these cardboard coffins when they cremate their loved ones.

The country recorded its highest daily death toll of 198 on Friday, with total fatalities reaching 7,560.

Currently, about 400 people die per day on average in Sri Lanka of various causes, including COVID-19, said Sahabandu, a member of the municipal council for Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia, a city in Colombo district.

“To make 400 coffins, you have to cut some 250 to 300 trees. To prevent that environmental destruction I proposed this concept to the health committee of the council,” he said.

“With the spread of the coronavirus, people found it difficult to pay for expensive wooden coffins,” he said.

Each coffin costs about 4,500 Sri Lankan rupees ($23), compared with 30,000 rupees ($150) for a cheap wooden one, Sahabandu said. It can hold up to 100kg (220 pounds).

The coffins were initially used mostly for COVID-19 victims but have become more popular among those concerned about the environment.

Some 350 cardboard coffins have been delivered since early 2020 and the factory is working on another 150 ordered by the council.

“The majority of the people in the country support this. The issue today is supplying it. We are working on that,” Sahabandu said.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced a total lockdown on Friday for 10 days to curb a renewed surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant.


  1. Getting a cardboard coffin is a luxury when you live in a corrupt country. In the near future poor Sri Lankans can’t even afford to buy cardboard coffins. Poor Sri Lankans are dying at the government hospitals with inadequate modern equipments and facilities. On top of that they have to pay bribes to open the body bags to identify their loved ones. But former Finance Minister dies in a private hospital. The current Finance Minister will move to America to receive a top class treatment, because he is an American citizen. I am waiting to see where corrupt journalists will receive a treatment if they get sick, especially Easwaran Rutnam.

    • How can Easwaran Rutnam be labelled a corrupt journalist, when he allows a lunatic like you to have an UNEDITED access to his website ?

      It also goes without saying that as a journalist in Sri Lanka, Easwaran Rutnam, has to exhibit a level of discretion, prudence, and wisdom, if he values his life and freedom. Yet, he continues to practice his profession. Where is “THE CORRUPTION” in the man ?

      I repeat again, you ( Antany Peters) have serious mental health issues. You need professional psychiatric help.

      • Gabriella you are from the West, most likely an Australian convict, or shameless South Asian puppet. ASIO traces my every move, including my comments on Facebook and online news. I have a message for convicts, South Asians who support you will be victims of your American cousins’ virus and convict Australians will suffer from nuclear bombs. The ugly minds of Australian political elites think that they are too good, because they fool Aboriginal people and China. Eventually, China will teach you a lesson. The Five Eyes countries’ cunning acts will get the world majority world towards their side. This will push China to a nuclear war. The Five Eyes countries’ ultimate goal is destroying the entire world. The Five Eyes countries’ mindset is they only rule the world, otherwise nobody rules it.

      • Gabriella, if a person allows people to access his website, it means he is not corrupt :–)))

        Sounds like you are a typical convict. I have access to Colombo Gazette, so I am not isolated. It doesn’t matter if I can’t access to Facebook, can’t get a job or can’t rent an apartment. Eventually, shameless South Asians and convicts will pay for their ignorance. I am already seen convicts losing exports to China and Covid 19 is killing shameless South Asians.

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