By Allan Hall
Belgium’s plan to wash its dead down the drain: Bodies would be dissolved in caustic solution… and flushed into the sewer
The EU is considering proposals from Belgian undertakers to be allowed to dissolve dead bodies in caustic solutions to help save the environment.
The remains could then be flushed into the sewage systems of towns and cities to be recycled at water processing plants.
If approved in Belgium, EU law would allow for the procedure to be used in the UK.
Those behind the controversial new method say it is less expensive and more environmentally-friendly than running highly-polluting crematoria or using up valuable land for graves.
But critics say it smacks of ‘Frankenstein callousness’ towards the dead and that people will find the idea disturbing.
A spokesman for the Flemish Association of Undertakers told Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine: ‘The idea is for the deceased to be placed in a container with water and salts and then pressurised and after a little time, about two hours, mineral ash and liquid is left over.
‘The European Commission is checking whether the liquid could be flushed into the sewage system.
‘Authorities in the northern Belgian region have yet to decide whether to approve the process.’
The process of reducing a body to ash is called chemical hydrolysis and has been used on a large scale in recent years in the destruction of cattle found to have BSE.
Known as ‘resomation’, the process significantly reduces the 573lb of carbon dioxide that the burning of a single body puts into the atmosphere.