3 crematoriums in Mumbai to stop using wood, help save trees

3 crematoriums in Mumbai to stop using wood, help save trees
Representational Image. Courtesy: NPR.org

In a bid to save trees, three crematoriums in Mumbai will switch to using agricultural waste instead of traditional firewood on a trial basis to cremate bodies.

As of today, there are over 175 crematoriums in Mumbai, of which less than one-third are managed by the civic body.

From those, the crematoriums at Teachers Colony in Bandra (East), Gujarati Seva Mandal cemetery in Bhandup and Vaikunthdham Cremation grounds on Reay Road will switch to using agricultural waste next month.

According to an HT report, the crematoriums will use briquettes, which is agricultural waste compressed into solid blocks.

“This idea was inspired by Vijay Limaye, 49, a mechanical engineer from Nagpur who has been advocating such eco-friendly cremations for the past four years,” said Dr Padmaja Keskar, the city’s executive health officer told the daily.

Limaye, meanwhile, maintains that briquettes burn the body faster than firewood and will also provide a source of income for farmers, who usually end up burning the waste.

The decision to switch to briquettes will also turn out to be beneficial for the BMC, which buys firewood at Rs 8 per kg and provides it to crematoriums at subsidised rates. Briquettes, in comparison, will cost just Rs 6 per kg.

In the past too, BMC has encouraged the use of electric and LPG cremations, but the idea has failed to take off since people continue to use firewood due to religious reasons.

According to one official, over 300 kg of wood (two tree trunks) is required for one body, which takes around 15 years to regenerate if replanted.

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