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Plastic-wrapped corpses are a grave hazard for Norway's cemeteries

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There is simply nothing more irksome than a corpse that won't decompose. Especially for Norwegian funeral directors, who are now dealing with a rather macabre predicament: thousands of plastic-wrapped dead bodies that are occupying precious real estate in the country's graveyards.

Over a 30-year period following World War II, Norway wrapped dead bodies in plastic before burying them. But the country also frequently reuses grave sites in an effort to save space — and corpses shrouded in plastic don't readily decompose. Since laws prevent plastic-wrapped bodies from being disturbed, the phenomenon has led to overcrowded cemeteries with little room for expansion. As The Wall Street Journal explains, desperate local officials are now relying on a chemical elixir that catalyzes decomposition while keeping graves intact. "You may say," one noted, "[that] wrapping people in plastic was the result of some pretty poor planning." Indeed.