Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the hero of the anti-apartheid movement, has asked for a green and eco-friendly cremation, ‘AQUAMATION’!
One may ask, what is Aquamation? It is an eco-friendly form of cremation which uses water instead of flames to process the remains.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is known the world over for his simplicity, and this trait was not found wanting even in his death when he bade that he would be put in an inexpensive coffin and his remains would be disposed of in an eco-friendly manner reports the Guardian.
Aquamation -increasingly environmentally friendly alternative to traditional cremation methods
The body of the legendary anti-apartheid soldier will undergo aquamation, which is an increasingly environmentally friendly alternative to traditional cremation methods, using water instead of fire.
The actual process involves the alkaline hydrolysis of the organic matter in the human remains. First, the body is immersed in a strong alkali, NaOH or KOH for three to four hours in a pressurized metallic cylinder at about 150 degrees centigrade. The process liquefies all the organic matter, including proteins, fats, and sugar. The process leaves only the bones, which are then dried in an oven and reduced to a powder placed in an urn and handed to relatives.
The process is much akin to the composting method, and the only difference is that the human body is composted instead of leaves and other plant wastes. Composting the human body is allowed in some countries, and South Africa is one of the few countries that allow this practice.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is known the world over for his simplicity asks for a simple funeral
The process is not new and has been in existence for decades. In the 90s, the process was used to dispose of the bovine population during the mad cow epidemic. The process was also used in the Medical institutions to dispose of donated human cadavers before the practice made its way into the funeral industry.
The anti-apartheid hero, whose funeral was held on Saturday, specifically asked for a cheap coffin and an eco-friendly cremation. The process of aquamation is preferred because it consumes less energy than using fire to dispose of human bodies.