Water Cremations

What is it and when could it be available in the UK?

In the realm of funeral practices, a new method called water cremation has emerged as an environmentally friendly alternative to a traditional cremation. Also known as resomation or alkaline hydrolysis, this innovative process employs water and alkaline chemicals to break down human remains. By examining water cremation and its potential availability in the United Kingdom, this article sheds light on a sustainable and gentle approach to cremation.

Understanding Water Cremation

The Resomation Process

Water cremation involves placing the deceased in a specialized chamber that is filled with a mixture of water and potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide, both of which are alkaline chemicals. The chamber is then heated and pressurized, facilitating a process called alkaline hydrolysis. During this process, the combination of water, heat, and alkaline chemicals accelerates the natural decomposition process, breaking down the body’s organic matter into its basic building blocks.

Environmental Benefits

One of the primary advantages of water cremation is its reduced environmental impact compared to traditional cremation methods. Traditional cremation relies on intense heat generated by burning fossil fuels, resulting in the release of greenhouse gases and air pollutants. In contrast, water cremation operates at a lower temperature and uses significantly less energy, making it a more sustainable option. Additionally, the process does not emit harmful substances such as mercury from dental fillings, further reducing its environmental footprint.

Cultural Considerations

Water cremation also addresses the needs of individuals and families with religious or cultural traditions that prohibit or discourage conventional cremation or burial practices. By providing an alternative aligned with their beliefs, water cremation promotes inclusivity and respect for diverse cultural and religious practices.

The Future of Water Cremation in the United Kingdom

While water cremation has gained recognition and acceptance in several countries, its availability in the United Kingdom is still limited. Currently, the practice is not legal for human remains in the UK, but there are ongoing discussions and efforts to change this.

Legislative Considerations

The legalisation of water cremation involves a thorough examination of relevant legislation and regulations governing funeral practices. Factors such as environmental impact, public acceptance, and compatibility with existing infrastructure need to be carefully assessed to ensure responsible implementation.

Scientific Research and Technological Advancements

Further scientific research and technological advancements are essential for supporting the widespread adoption of water cremation. Studies focusing on the environmental impact, safety protocols, and operational requirements of water cremation facilities can contribute to developing comprehensive guidelines and regulations.

Conclusion

In conclusion, water cremation offers a greener and more inclusive approach to end-of-life care. While it is not yet available in the United Kingdom, efforts are underway to explore its implementation, with some prospective providers targeting the end of 2023 to begin offering water cremation, or resomation. By addressing legislative considerations, fostering public awareness and acceptance, and advancing scientific research, the possibility of water cremation becoming a recognised option for individuals and families in the UK becomes increasingly promising.

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