Why would your last act on earth be to pollute it?
An Aquatorium is a venue for ecological water cremation of the dead. Water cremation is a pioneering method where human remains are gently dissolved into organic material, naturally and respectfully.
Our mission is to decarbonise the funeral industry
Today, however, different priorities prevail. Climate change is a real threat to human civilisation.
Many of us are making changes in our everyday lives in an endeavour to reduce our carbon footprint, except when it comes to death.
We are directed into a Victorian-style funeral where human bodies are burned or buried; either way, we are polluting our earth.
In the BBC drama “Years and Years” broadcast live on 28 May 2019, an Aquatorium is featured.
The actors, who are attending their Fathers’ funeral find they are not in a crematorium, but an Aquatorium. Reading the Order of Service in the chapel, one exclaims.
“OMG this isn’t a crematorium, it’s an Aquatorium. They don’t burn him, he gets dissolved.” “It’s called alkaline hydrolysis. It’s better for the environment."
“This is going to replace crematoriums; all those bodies in cemeteries, taking up loads of space - the future is dissolving bodies in alkaline, rendering them liquids."
"What, like boil in the bag?" asks Stephen.
Changing the way we do death
An Aquatorium is a purpose-built venue where water cremation funerals are conducted.
Instead of using a cremator to burn bodies, the bodies are dissolved by alkaline hydrolysis.
While an Aquatorium is a venue containing alkaline hydrolysis organic reduction vessels, it is designed to serve several purposes. In addition to being a venue for the practical but dignified eco-friendly disposal of dead bodies, it must also serve the emotional and spiritual needs of mourners.
At an Aquatorium, we can mitigate the impact on the environment of the most common methods of disposing of human bodies by either cremation or burial.
We cannot continue to treat human bodies like rubbish or another waste, and just burn or bury them.
Crematoria have been identified as sources of various environmental pollutants. Those raising most concern being polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs), and mercury.
Aquatorium is the 21st Century place to go for end-of-life mortality.
The Crematorium is out. Literally! We envisage a new dawn for the disposal of human remains at end of life in an Aquatorium. The common denominator of all this is: we are all going to die!
At an Aquatorium, you have the means to reconnect death to the natural cycles of life without polluting the world that has sustained you in life. Why would your last act on earth be to pollute it?
Climate change and the environment
75% of the UK population chooses cremation. This is over 487,500 per year, producing 150,000 tons of CO2, toxic fumes and heat which all contribute to global warming and climate change.
The global statistics are awesome. Every year, 550,000 people die in the UK alone. In the EU the figure is 5.1m. Globally, it is 56m. Roughly speaking, that is 90% of the population of UK. It is 153,424 people daily. 6,392 per hour. 106 per minute or 1.8 per second.
The typical cycle to incinerate a single body consumes 285kG of gas (equal to a 500 mile car trip) and 15 kWh of electrical energy.
55% of bodies are embalmed, mainly for the purpose of improving the appearance of the corpse, by preserving it during the laying-out procedure when relatives view it, especially if people must travel from abroad.
Besides formaldehyde, which is a potential human carcinogen, embalming materials may contain phenol, methanol and glycerine. These chemicals combine with the flue gases and form harmful carbon emissions containing carbon monoxide, fine soot, sulphur dioxide and heavy metals; 16% of UK’s mercury pollution (dental fillings) emanate from cremations.
A flame cremation has a total carbon footprint of approximately 400kg of CO2 (potentially 150k tons into the air above us annually) Burial is also polluting. 89% of coffins are made from chipboard which is bonded with a formaldehyde resin.
Heavy hardwood coffins sometimes lead-lined help preserve the body for many years, but merely slow the leaching process of embalming chemicals combined with decaying flesh, into the ground and adjacent ground water courses.
The move towards cremation began towards the end of the 19th C. Prior to that, it had been less practised. The earliest records show the discovery of the partly cremated remains of a female at Lake Mungo, Australia, which are thought to date from at least 17,000 years ago.
Various references to cremation exist throughout the Middle Ages however, inhumation or burial was the most widespread method. It was the simplest, easiest option for most people.
Cremation was also influenced by the rise in Christianity which, like the Jewish religion where the belief in the resurrection of the body, and the example of Christs burial precluded it.
Since then, cremation has steadily gained in popularity, especially since WW2. It is now specified in up to 70% of all funerals in UK.
For the remainder, burial involves finding a plot in an already overcrowded cemetery. Due to pressure of space, plots are only available for a set number of years.
Many mourners find it unacceptable to think that their relative will be disinterred in 75, 50, 35 or, in London for example, this could even be as little as 25 years. Then there is also the cost of a plot plus the commitment to attend the grave both to place fresh flowers or keep it tidy and free of weeds.