Due to climate change, people all over the world are changing the way they live their lives. If carbon emissions are not reduced in time, this planet may not remain habitable in the future. Now the time has come that along with life, death should also be made environment-friendly, It’s time to make cremation eco-friendly.
Every year in the US, 30 million feet of hardwood are used to make coffins for burial, 90,000 tons of steel to make caskets, and 17,000 tons of steel and copper to make vaults. Also, 1.6 million tonnes of concrete is used in the vault.
Coffin wood and metal pieces are buried in the ground, allowing harmful chemicals to permeate through the paint, preservatives, and alloys. The chemicals used for embalming also get mixed in the soil, which pollutes the soil and waterways.
‘Ashes to ashes, dust to dust’
According to a report, the traditional method of burial, in which the coffin is placed between stones, takes more than 40 years to skeletonize the body. The bacteria in the sealed tomb consume the oxygen which preserves the dead body for many years.
From an environmental point of view, it is very important that the dead body is decomposed and mixed with the soil as soon as possible. The goal is the complete decomposition of the body and its natural return to the soil. Only then can a burial truly be “ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” a phrase so often used when we bury our dead.
The burial method used by Jews and Muslims is considered as the greenest way of cremation. Most burials before the mid-19th century were conducted this way, In this, the body comes in direct contact with the soil and in a short time decomposes and becomes skeletonized.
Cremation in Hindus
India has a tradition of burning dead bodies after death, this method harms the environment in many ways. Firstly, a huge amount of wood is used in it, for which trees are cut. Secondly, due to the burning of wood, the air gets polluted.
According to the United Nations survey, on average 400 to 500 kg of wood is required to cremate one dead body in India. According to a CNN report, 50 to 60 million trees are burnt every year in India only at funerals.
Keeping in mind the changes in the environment due to climate change, we have to go towards such methods of cremation which are eco-friendly and return the human body to nature as soon as possible.
But worldwide, including in India, the cremation of family members after death is a sentimental and religious issue. It is not possible to change it completely, but every country is working on new methods according to its own.
Eco-Friendly way of cremation
Efforts are being made for this in India. Administration promoting cremation using cow dung instead of wood and other methods. Varanasi has become the first city in India to use only cow dung cakes instead of hardwoods for cremation.
Some villages on the banks of the river Ganga, known as Ganga Gram, are adopting less environmentally damaging methods for funerals. The people of these villages have taken a vow that only 100 kg of wood will be used in cremation, whereas 500 kg of wood is usually required for one cremation. Pyre ovens have also been introduced in these villages, these kilns burn the dead bodies in less wood in an efficient manner.
These special pyre ovens are made in such a way that more heat reaches the head and the waist area. It takes a long time for both these parts of the human body to burn. Because of this more wood is needed.
Electric and CNG incinerators are also being used in India. People are also slowly adopting new methods.
Apart from the traditional methods, there are some other methods that are environmentally friendly but these are not very popular. There is an option of “water cremation” or “resomation” (where the body is rapidly dissolved), Human composting, mummification, cryonics, and space burial are also some of the methods.
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