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Eco-friendly Hindu Funeral Pyre

Nearly 10 million people die a year in India according to a United Nations estimate. Majority of them are Hindus and are cremated – open-air cremation using firewood. What does this open-air cremation mean to our environment? For Hindu cremations in India, annually more than 50 million trees are cut. It produces half a million tonnes of ash and eight million tonnes of carbon dioxide. All this means increase of harmful greenhouse gases in our environment.

Vinod Kumar Agarwal and his Mokshda environmental group, an environmental group in New Delhi, are now advocating Eco-friendly Hindu funeral pyres. It is called the Mokshda Green Cremation System. This eco-friendly pyre uses minimal amount of wood, that is, when an average pyre uses around 400 kg of wood, the eco-friendly only uses less than 100 kg. All the usual Hindu cremation rites can be performed in this type of pyre. This pyre also creates less financial burden on the poor.

According to Seed Magazine

The pyre is a raised human-sized brazier under a roof with slats that could be lowered to maintain heat. The elevation allows air to circulate and feed the fire. The chimney traps much of the particle matter produced by the fire and releases clean emissions.

Mokshda has installed 41 pyres, while some cities like Mumbai have independently adapted the design. The group expects to put up about 20 more pyres this year.