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Church of England considers human composting and water cremation

A funeral home specializing in human composting in Washington, USA. AFP

London: The Church of England is considering environmentally friendly alternatives for burying the dead.

Methods include human composting and “aquamation” or water cremation. Greener alternatives are being considered to help the Church of England meet its net zero target.

An internal committee is in consultation to study the theological, practical and pastoral issues that alternative cremation techniques could raise.

Human composting was made legal in New York last month.

The idea of ​​going green in terms of dead body disposal was first raised in the Church of England legislative body called the General Synod.

Referring to the aquamation of Desmond Tutu, the Archbishop of Cape Town, which took place last year, Reverend Canon Andrew Dotchin said the choice of aquamation of Tutu was a “challenge”. [to] other Christians to be more careful what they do with their leftovers.

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 corpse is first placed in an enclosure after the removal of inorganic materials such as metal fillings, pacemakers and artificial joints.

Read also : A Green Death: What is the human composting that New York recently allowed?

With the help of hot air and organic materials, the decomposition process becomes faster. Within 30 days, the body, including teeth and bones, decomposes and leaves behind at least one cubic meter of soil.

Meanwhile, aquamation liquefies a corpse after immersing it in water with a mixture of a strong alkali for at least three to four hours.

The process liquefies all parts of the body except the bones which are then dried in an oven and reduced to white dust which is stored in an urn and returned to loved ones.

Water companies are concerned

Although water cremation is not banned in the UK, many water companies are concerned that it will enter the sewage system.

A test carried out by Yorkshire Water, however, proves the contrary. In 2019, the company said no DNA was found in the water samples it tested.

Since then, Yorkshire Water has granted consent to discharge for water cremation to Resomation Ltd.

No fewer than 20 US states allow water cremation.

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