Exploration of green cremation methods

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Exploration of green cremation methods

  • The National Green Tribunal has directed all States and Union Territories to switch over to environment friendly methods of cremation and explore viability of electric or piped natural gas (PNG) crematorium alongside wood to curb air pollution.


  • A bench said air pollution takes place in the course of cremation and electric/PNG crematoria can be set up as an option to the wood-based crematorium.
  • As per religious belief, the mode of cremation by fire is considered to be pious and in one cremation, 350-450 Kg of wood is burnt in the open.
  • It made clear that it has no intention to hurt any religious belief and has asked all States and UTs to consider remedial steps to prevent such pollution and educate and motivate people to switch over to environmentally friendly methods of cremation.
  • Authorities concerned may explore viability of electric/PNG crematorium alongside wood-based crematorium, in the interest of environment and also lesser cost for those who find it difficult to afford high cost of wood-based cremation.

Eco-friendly cremation methods

  • Bio Cremation
    • Newly developed technology has made a “water cremation” possible.
    • Using water, an alkali solution, and heat to cremate the body, machines help to reduce the carbon footprint of crematories.
    • The technology is available in some areas, but is not yet widely available.
    • Some predict a widespread use of the technology in the future.
  • Aquamation

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  • It is a process in which the body of the deceased is immersed for a few hours in a mixture of water and a strong alkali in a pressurized metal cylinder and heated to around 150 degree centigrade.
  • The combination of gentle water flow, temperature and alkalinity accentuate the breakdown of the organic materials.
  • The process leaves behind bone fragments and a neutral liquid called effluent.
  • The effluent is sterile, and contains salts, sugars, amino acids and peptides.
  • There is no tissue and no DNA left after the process completes.

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  • Portable tech-traditional eco-friendly mobile cremation system

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 * Developed by Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar. 
 * A prototype of a moveable electric cremation system which claims to be using first of its kind technology that involves smokeless cremation despite using wood. 
 * It uses half of the wood otherwise required for the cremation and still is eco-friendly because of the technology that uses the combustion air system.
 * Based on wick-stove technology in which the wick when lighted glows yellow. 
 * Converted into smokeless blue flame with the help of combustion air system installed over the wicks.
 * The cremation system or incinerator heats up at 1044 degree Celsius which ensures complete sterilisation.  
 * Use of less wood can also reduce the carbon footprint by half. H
 * It has stainless steel insulation on both sides of the cart for no heat loss and less wood consumption. 
 * It also has a tray beneath for easy removal of ashes.
  • Green Cremation
    • A gentle, eco-friendly alternative to flame-based cremation.
    • Body is reduced to ashes, which are then returned to the family.
    • However, no flames are used during the Green Cremation process, making it the more natural choice.

National Green Tribunal (NGT):

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  • Established on 18th October, 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010.
  • Established for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.
  • New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai shall be the other four places of sitting of the Tribunal.
  • The Tribunal is not bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.
  • NGT is mandated to make disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.
  • With the establishment of the NGT, India became the third country in the world to set up a specialised environmental tribunal, only after Australia and New Zealand, and the first developing country to do so.

Exam Track

Prelims Takeaway

  • Aquamation
  • NGT
  • Portable tech-traditional eco-friendly mobile cremation system

Mains Track

Q. Green cremation methodologies can prove to be a major driver for ensuring control over land and air pollution. Explain the various methodologies facilitating Green Cremation.