Desmond Tutu was an anti-apartheid leader, and he also served as the Anglican archbishop, emeritus. He died in Cape Town, South Africa, last Sunday. He requested a simple send-off in a pine coffin, despite his immense status. Aquamation will be his last act of charity and support for the environment.
The ashes of Tutu will be interred at St. George’s Cathedral, Cape Town. BBC reported Saturday. Before his remains can be laid to rest, they must undergo aquamation.
The process is scientifically known as alkaline hydrolysis. According toBio-Response Solutions is an Indiana-based company specializing in aquamation services. The body undergoes the exact same process as if it were to be buried in the ground.
To accelerate the natural process of decomposition, water, alkaline chemicals, and heat are all used. The body is then placed into a stainless steel vessel and filled up with a mixture of 95% and 5% alkali. The mixture is heated to 200-300° Fahrenheit, and circulated for 6-8 hours.
Traditional cremation takes about two hours, at temperatures up to 1,600 F.
According to the The, only the bones are left at both the end of aquamation or cremation. Cremation Association of North America. The bones are then broken down into fine powder or dust, and then placed in an urn.
Aquamation has a low impact on the environment, which is one of its greatest benefits. According to Bio-Response solutions, the process is free from fossil fuels and 90% more efficient than standard cremation.
Tutu was not only a fighter for human rights but also adamant about protecting the planet. The Very Rev. Michael Weeder (dean of St. George’s Cathedral) said that Tutu aspired “eco-warrior.” BBC reported.
An AnnouncementThe Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation said that the archbishop “vociferously campaigned against climate change and gentler stewardship of our planet” after his death.
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