For a Clean Ganga, Dung May Replace Funeral Firewood


The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is mulling over starting a pilot project of using cow dung cakes in the place of wood for cremation. The move is expected to cut down on pollution caused by the burning of funeral pyres on the banks of the Ganga in Varanasi and Haridwar. The Ganga Mission has been exploring alternative methods of cremation to cut down on pollution. Several Hindus prefer to be cremated in Varanasi and Haridwar for salvation and the whole process adds to the impurities of the holy river. The NMCG is now seriously considering a method proposed by Maharashtra-based NGO Sarthak Charitable Trust, in which cow dung cakes will be used for cremation. The method is economical, sustainable and less polluting. “Going by statistics, the mould is made of ceramics (inner portion) and it requires 40 pieces of cow dung cakes for burning the body in 2 hours. The traditional cremation process requires 200 kg of wood and takes 12 hours,” said sources in the Ministry of water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. The Ministry feels that the method of using cow dung cake will have acceptance among the masses as cow is worshipped in the country. An expert committee of the Ministry is already considering adopting it on pilot basis on Ghats of Varanasi. “Electric crematorium is still not widely accepted in the country owing to our religious and cultural mindset and people prefer pyre especially in holy cities. Even, the investment in electrical crematorium is high and in many cities there is a shortage of power. We feel that people will not have much hesitation in adopting this method of cremation,” the official told Express

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