Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council in the West Midlands aims to introduce a new, environmentally friendly method to dispose of corpses.
The council want to bring in the ‘water cremation’ procedure, which gets rid of bodies by flushing them down the drain, turning them into liquid form.
Planning permission for the procedure has been given the go ahead and £300,000 has been granted to build a ‘Resomator’: the device which liquefies the corpses.
Three pieces of the equipment are already being used in America, enabling bodies to be transformed into liquid and bone, in the space of three hours.
Whilst this West Midlands council are keen to get things going, the company which provides water to the local area, the Severn Trent, has denied the scheme a ‘trade effluent’ permit would enable the method to be introduced.
The man who invented the Resomation device, Sandy Sullivan, has claimed that many funeral directors would be interested in using the equipment.
Sullivan argues that ‘there is no real argument against using the machine’. He claims: ‘It is a very treatable organic liquid. It is sterile and there is no DNA in it.’
Currently, family of those who have passed away have the option of cremation or burial, Sullivan claims that he provides a third option to the table, one which is more suited to the environment’s needs.
The Resoma machines, translating rebirth of the human body in Latin, are currently being built in West Yorkshire.
Whilst America already have three machines in use, Sandwell council, near Birmingham, are pushing to become the first place in Britain to bring in this method of cremation.
And the local water company, which refuses to grant a licence for the procedure, has claimed that they are not able to cover the disposal of bodies. They claim that they are ‘not convinced’ with the technology and feel greater research should be found before the method is implemented.
The council have brought in the Ministry of Justice, as well as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to provide expertise on the topic.
The corpse is put into a tube and the device works out the amount of potassium hydroxide and water required. After adding this, an alkaline solution is also added to the pressurized container and it is heated to 152C.
After around three hours, the body will be liquefied and produces around 330 gallons of brown fluid.
Harder objects including bones and teeth are then rinsed at around 120C and disposed of separately.
Here comes the debated part. Once the liquid has returned to normal tap temperature, its PH level is verified and it is then drained into the water network.
Despite being opted for by 75 per cent of people, like this method, cremation was also met with hostility before being introduced.
In 1878, the first crematorium was built and was subsequently deemed by the Church as being a ‘heathen’ practice. As such, the first cremation, of Jeannette Pickersgill, only took place 7 years later, on 1885.
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