An Aquatorium is the 21st C, substitute for a flame crematorium.
Imagine walking into a bright, airy, oval shaped chapel with a high roof of glass, like a Cathedral. Natural light bathes the scene. Gentle pastel colours soothe the senses as one occupies comfortable seating arranged in layered semi-circles looking down on the coffin, which sits centre stage on the catafalque. There is time to quietly reflect and compose oneself to honour the dead. Potted plants to the side complete the serene air of the scene adding a pleasant scent.
The coffin remains in situ until after the committal service and all mourners have departed. It is then wheeled into the antechamber whence the body is removed and placed within the Aquatorium processor and the water cremation cycle commences.
The whole experience is one of peace, joy, thanksgiving and remembrance of the late departed person. A full, perfect, and sufficient ending. Your gaze wanders through the large open plan window to the view in the distance, of mixed woodland and sky. In the foreground there is meandering water flowing through undulating green slopes. You quietly say your farewells then, sometime later, you receive the ashes, to scatter privately according to the wishes of the deceased.
This is a thermodynamic process. The non-embalmed body is placed in a specially designed vessel and filled with approximately 100 gallons of water, depending of the weight of the deceased.
An alkali-based solution or lye (potassium hydroxide) is added. The mixture is heated to 160C, and the sealed chamber becomes pressurised. After 3 hours, the soft tissue of the body has liquified and bone is the only organic solid left. The liquid, a DNA free bio-waste, is responsibly disposed of. The bones, are dried and processed in a cremulator for return to the family.
The decision to specify alkaline hydrolysis water cremation is a radical departure from normal post-mortem body disposal procedures.
The ecological case is clear. The mental one is harder to make. Any objections are, however, subjective since, when we have died, we are no longer sentient beings and the disposal of our remains is out of our control. The decision is how we wish this to be done?
It is a fact that cemeteries are full, and graves must be re-cycled. In a grave, as the deceased person decomposes, embalming fluid, bodily fluids and pathogens are released into the surrounding soil and find their way into water courses.
Crematoria have been identified as sources of various environmental pollutants, being polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs), and mercury. These are the ones that raise the most concern.
Crematoria burn large quantities of natural gas, emitting CO2, greenhouse gases, poisonous emissions and unnecessary heat directly into the atmosphere.
All this activity is adding to climate change and global warming. Everyday.