Sustainability in Death

Humans who are insensitive to their surroundings are the biggest threat to environment. They alone are to be blamed for the natural phenomenon such as global warming and climate change. They are the first few fragments of the “Environmental Threat” chain.

We know that death is inevitable but did we know that even after death we harm the environment???

There has been a constant debate whether after the death of a human being he should be buried or cremated (burning). According to many environmentalists, burning of dead bodies is better than cremating as it is less-polluting. The cremation of bodies results in the release of harmful chemicals such ascarbon monoxide, fine soot, sulfur dioxide, heavy metals, and mercury emissions from dental fillings, which are particularly concerning. People, usually then immerse the ashes into a river, like the sacred river, Ganges, for Hindus.

Burying of bodies has an equally harmful effect on the environment. The coffins are made of wood which leads to deforestation. The release of methane due to the breakdown of the organic matter is also dangerous as it causes global warming. After death, the body stops producing antibodies and viruses present in it can be released into the environment. The introduction of coffins which grow into a sapling after some time is helpful for this cause.

I feel instead of coffins the bodies could be wrapped in cloth and buried; a lot of wood would be saved thus. Same way, if electrified cremation is done, the crematoriums must run on electricity generated through clean energy resource like solar power.

We know, it’s not easy to change the traditions and beliefs, especially about the rituals, but realizing it as the need of the hour, we should change ourselves and adapt the sustainable ways of dealing with the dead.

Kirtan Patel, VIII B

St. Kabir School, Naranpura

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