Archbishop Desmond Tutu died on 26th December in Cape Town aged 90 and chooses eco-friendly water cremation.
The ex-Bishop of Johannesburg, Archbishop of Cape Town and anti-apartheid leader was the first black African to hold these positions. Awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1984. He was a leading light in the struggle against white minority rule.
A funeral mass has been held today at the Anglican cathedral in Cape Town. Unusually, instead of either a flame cremation or burial, in line with the Archbishop’s eco-friendly beliefs, he is to be cremated using the new environmentally-friendly alkaline hydrolysis water cremation process.
Flame crematoriums burn large quantities of natural gas, emitting CO2, greenhouse gases, poisonous emissions, and unnecessary heat directly into the atmosphere. They have also been identified as sources of various environmental pollutants. The ones raising the most concern are polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs), and mercury.
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 watercourses.
By contrast water cremation is the 21st C. substitute for a flame cremation or burial.
The UK’s first Aquatorium is due to open in 2022. At an Aquatorium, you may 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?
Image Credit: REUTERS