Church of England considers human composting, water cremation
The idea of going green in terms of disposing of dead bodies was first raised at the Church of England’s legislative body called the General Synod to meet its net-zero target
London: The Church of England is considering eco-friendly alternatives to bury the dead.
The methods include human composting and ‘aquamation’ or water cremation. The greener alternatives are being considered to help the Church of England meet its net-zero target.
An internal committee is in consultation to consider the theological, practical and pastoral issues that might come up in alternative cremation techniques.
Human composting was made legal in New York last month.
The idea of going green in terms of disposing of dead bodies was first raised in at the Church of England’s legislative body called the General Synod.
Referring to Desmond Tutu’s, the archbishop of Cape Town, aquamation that occurred last year, Reverend Canon Andrew Dotchin said that Tutu’s choice of aquamation was a “challenge [to] other Christians to be more careful with what they do with their remains.”
What is human composting and aquamation?
Also known as terramation, the method of human composting involves the natural organic reduction of human body parts into the soil.
The dead body is first placed in an enclosure after non-organic materials like metal fillings, pacemakers and artificial joints are removed.
Also read: A Green Death: What is human composting that New York has recently allowed?
With the help of warm air and organic materials, the decomposition process becomes faster. Within 30 days, the body, including teeth and bones, breaks down and leaves behind at least one cubic metre of soil.
Meanwhile, aquamation liquifies a dead body after it is immersed in the water with a mixture of a strong alkali for at least three to four hours.
The process liquefies every part of the body except the bones which are later dried in an oven and reduced to white dust which is stored in an urn and returned to relatives.
Water companies raise concern
Although water cremation is not banned in UK, many water companies fear that it would enter the sewage system.
A test run by Yorkshire Water, however, proves otherwise. In 2019, the company said that no DNA was found in the water samples they had tested.
Since then, Yorkshire Water granted consent to discharge for water cremation to Resomation Ltd.
As many as 20 US states authorise water cremation.
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