Wednesday January 24, 2018

Eco-Friendly cremation is Easy to Handle but Difficult to Sell in India

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Funeral pyre (Source Wikimedia: Commons)
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  • A traditional pyre requires around 600 kgs of wood and will burn for five to six hours
  • Eco-friendly pyre requires only 150 to 200 kilogram of wood and will last only for two to three hours
  • Study shows that around 60 million trees are cut every year for cremation purpose

Indian is a land of festivals, culture and rituals. Rituals are sequence of activities one performs during a particular event be it wedding, birth or death. But some rituals may harm environment. Rituals of death are one of them. But there is now a method to reduce pollution, Eco-Friendly Cremation.

Traditional funeral pyre. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Process of cremation is thousand year old. When a body wrapped in white cloth on ladder carried by four people is cremated traditionally, emits toxic materials with pollution that can easily harm environment. But now that can be avoided by using eco-friendly pyres.

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Traditional system of cremation includes logs of wood which turns into deforestation. There are about 400 cremation ground in Delhi and each works in a traditional way. Around 7 million Hindus die every year. Study shows that around 60 million trees are cut every year for cremation purpose. A traditional pyre requires around 600 kilogram of wood and will burn for five to six hours.

Interior of Crematoria . Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Vinod Kumar Agarwal, the head of Mokshda Green Cremation System in Delhi recently devised a pyre that is Eco-friendly and that can reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by 60 percent. There are only 42 pyres all over the country and Agrawal is planning to make them 50 by end of the year. This Eco-friendly pyre requires only 150 to 200 kilogram of wood and will last only for two to three hours. Moreover, it is affordable, saving time and energy saving.

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Even after so many benefits, Agrawal found it difficult to sell this idea to Indian masses. According to Mokshda worker, he cremates only 7 bodies per day while the other using traditional method creates a more than twice number of bodies as he does.

Crematoria in Kolkata. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

This is because around 80% of population in India is Hindu. According to Hindu sacred text, any soul cannot attain Moksha without Agni. This is the utmost reason that urges people to use traditional pyres. Moreover, this practice is prevalent for years, so it is not easy for anyone to give up so easily.

But people are getting more and more conscious towards the environment and are moving towards the use of eco-friendly crematoriums.

-prepared by Aparna Gupta, an intern with NewsGram. Twitter @writetoaparna99

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  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    Now when we are aware of the practices which might be a threat to the environment, we must take the initiative to find an alternative.

  • AJ Krish

    Instead of following our religion blindly, we should look at issues from a broad perspective. If the environment can be saved and resources be conserved, why not utilize this method?

  • devika todi

    when the world will be polluted and it will be choking us to death, where will our rituals take us? instead of being stubborn about it, if we can think of the general good of the future, it will be better for all of us.

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    Now when we are aware of the practices which might be a threat to the environment, we must take the initiative to find an alternative.

  • AJ Krish

    Instead of following our religion blindly, we should look at issues from a broad perspective. If the environment can be saved and resources be conserved, why not utilize this method?

  • devika todi

    when the world will be polluted and it will be choking us to death, where will our rituals take us? instead of being stubborn about it, if we can think of the general good of the future, it will be better for all of us.

Next Story

India China’s Fight Over the Doklam Plateau Explained

Doklam or Donglang, is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India

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picture from- indiaopines.com

By Ruchika Verma

  • India and China have an old history of disputes
  • This time, the dispute is regarding the Dokplam Plateau
  • The area is of strategic importance for both the nations

Disputes between India and China are not at all uncommon. The rivalry between the two nations is famous. There have been several disputes between the two on the India-China border in past, and there seems to be no stopping for these disputes in the present or future, for that matter.

India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com
India and China have an old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com

In June 2017, the world witnessed yet another dispute arising between India and China. This time the dispute was about China building a road extending to Doklam Plateau, which both nations have been fighting over for years now.

Also Read: China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

History of the dispute 

Doklam or Donglang (in Chinese), is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India. India doesn’t directly claim the area but supports Bhutan’s claims on it.

India fits into the picture, as this plateau is an important area for India. Not only is Bhutan one of the biggest allies of India; China gaining access over the Doklam Plateau will also endanger India’s borders, making them vulnerable to attacks.

Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan's borders.
Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan’s borders.

Apart from the hostile history of the two nations, the Doklam Plateau is also important for India to maintain its control over a land corridor that connects to its remote northeastern States. China building a road through Doklam surely threatens that control.

A complete timeline of what happened in the recent Doklam Standoff 

On 16 June 2017, Chinese troops with construction vehicles and excavators began extending an existing road southward on the Doklam plateau, near India’s border. It was Bhutan which raised the alarm for India.

On 18 June 2017, India responded by sending around 270 Indian troops, with weapons and two bulldozers to evict the Chinese troops from Doklam.

On 29 June 2017, Bhutan protested against the construction of a road in the disputed territory.  According to the Bhutanese government, China attempted to extend a road in an area which is shared both Bhutan and India, along with China.

Between 30 June 2017 and 5 July 2017, China released multiple statements justifying their claim over the Doklam plateau. They cited reasons as to why the Doklam standoff wasn’t really needed. And how China has not intruded into India’s territory to incite the standoff.

On 19th July 2017, China asked India again to withdraw its troops from the Doklam. On 24th July 2017,  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in his statement, asked India to withdraw and behave themselves to maintain peace.

India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC
India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC

Also Read: Why India Must Counter China’s High-Altitude Land Grab?

What followed till 16th August 2017 was China constantly alleging India of trying to create trouble. They accused India of trying to disturb the peace and not withdrawing the troops, even after repeated reminders. They also accused India of bullying.

India, however, kept quiet during the whole fiasco, only releasing a statement regarding their stand and position at the Doklam standoff.

On 28 August 2017, India and China finally announced that they had agreed to pull their troops back from the Doklam standoff. The withdrawal was completed on that very day.

On 7 September 2017, many media reports claimed that both nation’s troops have not left the site completely. They were still patrolling the area, simply having moved 150 meters away from their previous position.

On 9 October 2017, China announced that it is ready to maintain peace with India at the frontiers. India reacted in affirmative, the peace was established when Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s visited Nathu La.

The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay
The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay

The Doklam issue, for now, is resolved. However, given the history of disputes between India and China, it won’t be a surprise if the issue resurfaces again in near future.