Human Composting

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    • Recently, New York became the sixth state in the US to legalise human composting as a burial option. 

    About Human Composting

    • It is also known as natural organic reduction.
    • It is essentially the process of transforming the human body into nutrient-rich soil. 
    • The process of transformation of a human body into soil involves placing a dead body in a reusable vessel with biodegradable materials.
    • These materials act as a catalyst to help the process of transformation into nutrient-dense soil.

    Benefits  and Need 

    • In the past few years, it has gained popularity, especially among the younger generation, for being an eco-friendly alternative to dispose of a corpse.
    • With the global temperature soaring, methods like burials and cremations are increasingly being seen as contributors to carbon emissions. 
    • Moreover, burials and cremations are quite expensive, and not only many can afford them. 
    • Therefore, human composting uses much less energy than cremation
    • The soil produced through this procedure can be used for gardening or can be spread in designated memorial grounds or forest conservation areas.
    • When human composting transforms the organic material of our bodies, carbon is also sequestered in the soil created. 

    Concerns 

    • The biggest opponent of this process has been the Catholic Church and called it an “unfortunate spiritual, emotional, and psychological distancing from the deceased.
    • It has been believed that the ‘transformation’ of the remains would create an emotional distance rather than a reverence” for the remains. 
    • Even cremated remains must  remain in a communal place befitting of the dignity inherent in the human body and its connection to the immortal soul.”

    Way Ahead 

    • Because the composting option is so new, “it’s really a matter of changing hearts and minds right now
    • This will result in significant savings in carbon emissions and land usage.
    • The promoters of the process say that it is a gentler way of bidding goodbye to one’s loved ones. 

    Source: TH