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Agri-Waste Bricks Over Wood: Eco-Cremation Helps Nagpur, Pune & Panaji Go Green!

People in the cities have found that the cremation of a single person uses the equivalent of two fully grown trees.

Some cities in India are leading the way to eco-friendliness. They are advocating the use of unconventional, renewable or eco-friendly alternatives in this life, and after!

People in cities like Nagpur, Pune and Panaji have found that the cremation of a single person uses the equivalent of two fully grown trees. Respecting the sentiments of the people who have lost their loved ones, these cities are offering you an alternative to firewood during cremation.

In Nagpur, Vijay Limaye thought about the practice of ‘green cremation‘ and persuaded government bodies to undertake it. His solution was the use of briquettes instead of firewood. Briquettes are hard bricks made from agricultural waste such as cotton plant stalks or rice husks.

Another benefit of this alternative goes to the farmers who can make an income from selling their agro-waste to the producers of biomass briquettes.

Briquettes or white coal. Source.

The biomass briquette, also known as white coal, was proposed as an option in Pune by corporators Smita Vaste and Saraswati Shendge. “The wood used in crematoriums reduces green cover,” Vaste told Pune Mirror, adding, “This alternative fuel, common in the UK, will help reduce pollution. It will also help keep the environment clean.”

Instead of two full-grown trees, you can use 250kg of biomass briquettes. The Panaji Rotary Club encourages the use of this eco-friendly option, by giving the first supply of briquettes free of charge to the crematoriums. They have even shared the monetary benefit of this option, so more and more crematoriums adopt it.

Anil Sardesai, a Rotarian told the Times of India,

“One load (10-12 tonnes) of the briquettes will be provided by us. While the initial supply from us will be free, we are hopeful that the crematorium trust will continue with this practice by ordering the briquettes themselves.”

Representational image of cremation ghats. Source.

According to the publication, the cost of each cremation will come down to Rs 1,500 from the usual Rs 3,000 if briquettes are used in place of firewood. They even installed a special steel container in the Panaji crematorium for free–it usually costs about Rs 1.5 lakh.


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Manoj Patil, who works with the Rotary in Panaji told TOI, “Two successful trial cremations were conducted at the crematorium in Panaji with due permission from the family of the deceased.”

The death of a dear one is certainly a tragic event and may not be the best time to persuade family members to go green. However, the amount of wood needed for the cremation of one body brings to perspective how great its consequences are. The use of biomass briquettes in place of firewood is an option that many people can consider. It may help us curb the number of trees cut for firewood.

(Edited by Shruti Singhal)

Featured image source: Vijay Limaye.

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