There are things in life that we are very clear about, but when we talk about sustainable methods for cremations and burials it can be confusing, as it is not a common topic of conversation and there is not much information available.
Over the coming years, new alternatives will emerge. Many of them use the sustainability label in their marketing. Sometimes frivolously. We have therefore created four short and didactic articles with the objective of resolving doubts and to explain what a method that claims to be sustainable must have in order to really be sustainable.
First step: Fragmenting a deceased body, it does matter.
Why is it important to reduce the size of the deceased body? As we know our body is composed of organs such as the lungs, brain, heart, etc., all of which serve important and vital functions when alive. Unless you have studied or worked in the health sector, people do not generally ask themselves what happens when the lungs stop inhaling oxygen and the heart stops. What happens, and what we should know, is that as a result of not breathing, the heart no longer transports oxygen to the rest of the organs and tissues and therefore, a process of putrefaction, also known as anaerobic process begins.
This putrefaction process specifically starts in the stomach and intestines. The unhygienic and foul-smelling molecules of the putrefaction process meet with the large amount of water contained in the cells of our body (we are about 70% water). The final result of this process is the generation of inorganic fluids that obviously will not help the formation of soil, but on the contrary, will contaminate the groundwater once this body is buried in the ground, put in niches, etc.
Now we know that we need such a key element as oxygen to prevent an internal putrefaction process of the body. So, how do we do it so that oxygen reaches all the tissues, organs of the deceased body, as the heart did? The only way is by FRAGMENTING the tissues, the body. Thus, the body does not start the putrefactive or anaerobic process (polluting) and starts the aerobic process (with oxygen) which is nature’s preferred method (no polluting).
In short, the human body is organic matter (which contains carbon) and by fragmenting the body we do not initiate the putrefaction process, so the human body will continue to have the quality of organic matter and consequently the carbon will be deposited in the soil (as a nutrient for plants) and not as a fluid polluting soil or groundwater.