“You come in by water, and you leave by water.”
Death is a part of life, perhaps the most natural thing that is bound to happen to all living creatures.
Over the millennia, humans have come to regard death both with reverence and fear. Various world cultures and religions have developed their own perspectives on death that lead us, the living, to either celebrate it and fondly remember our deceased, or otherwise to fear that final reality, the knowledge that we are finite, as well as all sorts of ghosts and ghouls that perhaps still linger from beyond.
Have you ever been to a wake or a funeral? While it’s a different experience for everyone, seeing a dead body is a strange experience, especially when you knew the person in question so well during their life. In the West, corpses are typically treated with respect, often embalmed for presentation at a wake before being laid to rest either by cremation or burial.
That being said, the idea of flushing your loved ones down the drain may sound a little sacrosanct, but that isn’t stopping one funeral business from doing exactly that.
Would you want this happening in your neighborhood?
The Green Wave
These days, people are much more focused on the environment than they used to be. But this green wave of environmentalism doesn’t just apply to recycling plastics and papers, utilizing reusable water bottles, or cutting down on water and electricity usage. Now, you can even have a green funeral.
Embalming, cremating, and burials can all be lengthy, expensive processes with negative environmental impacts. Though the fumes produced from cremation are filtered several times before being released, the procedure still creates large amounts of carbon dioxide and even mercury that can be let go into the air along with other compounds and toxins.
While biodegradable caskets, urns, and other non-traditional methods of burial are becoming more popular, another process is currently gaining momentum across the Americas might make some people a little uncomfortable.
After all, they’re pretty much dumping dead bodies straight into the sewers.
The “environmentally-friendly” process of water cremation, technically called alkaline hydrolysis, is gaining popularity but also facing major opposition as more people learn exactly how it works.
Bodies are placed in large tanks, which are then filled with water and lye and superheated to about 320 degrees Fahrenheit at high pressure. This breaks down the body into chemical components over the course of several hours.
On the plus side, this process produces less carbon dioxide and other pollutants than a standard cremation by fire. On the other hand, it breaks down the body into a green-brown liquid (also described as coffee-colored…yuck) as well as some bone fragments. These bones can be crushed down and then given to family members. The liquid remains, however, are released into the sewer.