Indian authorities are mandating that major municipal cremation centres must switch to propane to reduce deforestation and protect the environment.
Amritsar, the home of the famous Sikh-worshipping Golden Temple, has introduced a pilot at Chatiwind Gate cremation ground, which the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) hopes will reduce harmful emissions and save precious trees, indianexpress.com reported.
It follows a similar project in Kerala in the south to convert the state’s major cremation grounds to run on propane – more commonly known in India as LPG, or liquid petroleum gas.
The new system is considered cheaper and less hazardous. It aims to provide eco-friendly cremations by checking pollution from wood and cutting the number of trees that are felled in India to dispose of bodies.
Civil works are set to begin to install machinery fitted with huge burners and smoke controllers, PPCB chairman Kahan Singh Pannu said. Municipal authorities in major cities will be asked to convert cremation grounds to LPG-run crematoriums – partly funded by the pollution board.
Cremation is a spiritual ritual in the Hindu religion to dispose of the body but is also intended to release the soul from its earthly existence, mailerindia.com reported. It is based on the belief that the ‘astral body’ will linger as long as the physical body remains visible.
The standard cremation ceremony begins with a ritual cleansing, dressing and adorning of the body. The body is then carried to the cremation ground as prayers are chanted before being set alight.
Propane is a relatively clean-burning fuel which used extensively throughout India for cooking and heating. It is found in plentiful supply in the United States.
Propane autogas it the world’s third most popular vehicle fuel. It is also much cheaper and produces far fewer harmful carbon and greenhouse gas emissions than conventional vehicle fuels.