Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ecological Burials

Burials have taken different forms according to cultures and religions over the last few thousands of years. There are many people who believe that once a person dies it really doesn’t matter what happens to their corpse. Well, according to the Swedish company Promessa it does matter. Susanne Wiigh. Mäsak is offering a new Eco-friendly method taking into consideration the biological effects when a body is buried.

Some examples of burials include natural burials, mummification and inclusion of clothing/personal belongings. Natural burials is where the body is returned to the soil to decompose naturally. This is a process which began in the nineties, and is becoming popular across the globe. Mummification is a delaying process of preserving the body against decay similar to that practiced by the pharaohs. Clothing/personal belongings burial is extensively preferred by most western cultures. Here the deceased is placed in an open casket for everyone to see, dressed in their nicest clothes. According to Susanne Wiigh, burial methods have remained the same since the 12th century, and have not addressed certain environmental issues. The primary focus of Promessa is to harmonize a burial with the biological realities making it a more ecological approach.

Traditional V’s Ecological Burial

Life after death has different interpretations which are countless. Everyone is entitled to believe what they want, there is no right or wrong opinion. What can be argued though is the impact burials have on our environment. Through Promessa’s initiative, they remove any contaminants such as mercury, by transforming the deceased into an organic, odorless, hygienic powder. Their innovative technique is capable of removing those harmful components which have a negative impact on our environment, which traditional burials are incapable of doing. Some of these include:

1. Casket burials affect the ground and drinking water as well as the eutrophication and oxygen depletion of the seas.

2. A cremation consumes 23 litres of fluid oil and a kilogram of activated carbon. Cremations release polluting agents such as carbon dioxin and dioxide into the air. According to a study, one third of total mercury emissions in Sweden comes from crematory.

Ecological Burial Process

The process begins by placing the body in a casket which is cooled down to -18°c. Both body and casket is then frozen using liquid nitrogen that reaches temperature of around -196°c. This freezing is done using Cryo-technology making the body and casket brittle and firm. They are then exposed to a short vibration turning them into dust. The dust is dried and the metals are extracted using a magnetic field. Later this dust is placed in a biodegradable coffin which is made of maize or potato starch. This coffin is placed half a meter in depth into the ground where there is still oxygen, allowing its conversion to loam.

We enter this life in the most natural form with the least impact on our environment, so we should leave this life in the most natural way possible, the way illustrated by Promessa.

The below video shows a thorough illustration of the process adopted by Promessa.


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