Dead Man Blues: “There’s a bunch of gross stuff, besides human bodies, hiding under graveyards.”

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Honestly, I just needed an excuse to listen to this Jelly Roll Morton song.

Here Lies E. Coli, by Sarah Laskow (Atlas Obsucra)

There’s a bunch of gross stuff, besides human bodies, hiding under graveyards.

For millennia, groups of people have set aside special places to inter their dead, but as the world’s population has grown, so have the problems with concentrating dead bodies in this way. “Cemeteries can be regarded as special kinds of landfills,” the World Health Organization wrote in a 1998 report, and, like any landfill, they come with pollution risks. There have been few comprehensive studies of their environmental hazards, but in some cases—a cemetery that keeps flooding, for instance—the dangers of contamination are clear. With cemeteries sometimes converted into parks and playgrounds, or surrounded by dense development, environmental scientists are increasingly trying to understand the real dangers hidden in cemetery grounds.

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