Due Friday, November 4, 2022, 11:59 PM Time remaining: 21 hours 46 mins There are now many different ways to dispose of human remains other than burial or cremation. Research one alternative to burial or cremation. Describe the process, what country or culture is practicing the alternative form, and reasons given for the alternative – religious beliefs, cost, lack of land, etc. Cite at least two sources used to gather your information.
Title: Alkaline Hydrolysis: An Emerging Alternative to Burial and Cremation
Traditional methods of burying or cremating human remains have long been the dominant practices across different cultures and countries. However, in recent years, alternative means of disposal have emerged that aim to address various concerns such as environmental impact, finite land resources, and religious beliefs. One such alternative gaining prominence is alkaline hydrolysis, a process that utilizes water and chemicals to break down the body into its basic components. This paper will explore the practice of alkaline hydrolysis, its current adoption, and the reasons behind its growing acceptance, considering factors like religious beliefs, cost-effectiveness, and ecological impact.
Alkaline Hydrolysis Process:
Alkaline hydrolysis, also known as aquamation or resomation, is a water-based method of disintegrating human remains. Unlike burial or cremation, alkaline hydrolysis uses a combination of water, heat, and alkali, typically potassium hydroxide (KOH), to accelerate the natural decomposition process. The procedure involves placing the body in a stainless-steel chamber, which is then filled with a heated solution of water and alkali. The pressure in the chamber is increased to enable the decomposition to occur within a shorter timeframe. After several hours, the process results in a sterile liquid solution that consists of amino acids, peptides, sugars, and small amounts of the inorganic mineral content of the body. This fluid can be safely discharged into the environment or returned to the local water treatment facility.
Practice and Adoption:
Alkaline hydrolysis was initially developed in the 1990s as an alternative to the dissection process used in medical schools. However, it has increasingly gained attention as an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional disposal methods, leading to its practice in a growing number of countries and cultures. One country at the forefront of alkaline hydrolysis adoption is the United States, with several states legalizing its use for the handling of human remains.
In the U.S., alkaline hydrolysis has been permitted for human disposition in states such as Minnesota, Florida, Oregon, and Illinois. These states have recognized the ecological benefits of alkaline hydrolysis, as it generates significantly lower carbon emissions compared to cremation. Additionally, some funeral homes and service providers have started offering alkaline hydrolysis as a burial option, accommodating the environmental concerns of families who seek a sustainable alternative.
Another country that has embraced alkaline hydrolysis is Canada. In 2021, Canada’s parliament passed legislation allowing alkaline hydrolysis as a legal method for disposing of human remains. The Canadian legislation incorporates stringent regulations to ensure the proper management and ethical handling of the process. Such regulations help in addressing public concerns regarding the legality and respectfulness of this emerging practice.
Reasons for Adoption:
The widespread acceptance and adoption of alkaline hydrolysis can be attributed to various reasons, including religious considerations, cost factors, and environmental concerns.
Religious beliefs: Alkaline hydrolysis has found acceptance among certain religious groups, such as those adhering to the Green Burial Movement, who prioritize eco-friendly practices. These groups view alkaline hydrolysis as a method that avoids environmental harm and promotes sustainability, aligning with their core beliefs.
Cost considerations: The cost of traditional burial methods has been a barrier for many families, as it involves expenses such as caskets, grave plots, and maintenance fees. Alkaline hydrolysis offers a more economically viable alternative that eliminates the need for some of these costly components, especially in regions where land prices are prohibitive.
Environmental impact: Concerns over the ecological impact of burial practices, including deforestation and the use of non-biodegradable materials, have contributed to the search for greener alternatives. Alkaline hydrolysis produces significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to cremation, making it an attractive choice for eco-conscious individuals.
Alkaline hydrolysis has emerged as an alternative method of disposing of human remains, gaining recognition in various countries and cultures. This sustainable process utilizes water and chemicals to break down the body, offering benefits such as reduced carbon emissions, cost savings, and alignment with eco-friendly values. As society continues to address the challenges associated with traditional burial and cremation practices, alkaline hydrolysis presents a viable and innovative solution that embraces ecological concerns, religious beliefs, and economic realities.