World's first water cremation centre opening in Australia

     Australians in Queensland have now been given the option of a liquid burial, with the world's first water cremation centre opening on the Gold Coast. Aquamation Industries chief executive John Humphries says the service, at the Eco Memorial Park at Stapylton near Dreamworld, uses a process it hopes will revolutionise the funeral industry. "Aquamation is a more natural, ethical and environmentally friendly alternative to cremations and uses water instead of fire to return a body to nature," the Courier Mail quoted Humphries as saying. "And within a year we would expect you would be able to have this done anywhere in Australia," he stated. He said the process, called alkaline hydrolysis, relies on the same natural forces by which a dead animal is returned to nature in the bush. "So we've put this totally natural process into a stainless steel tube where the body is washed for about four hours; it's the same natural breakdown of tissue, just at a faster rate, and even the Catholic church has now approved it," he explained. Humphries said the equipment he invented was based on an experimental unit in the US that uses extreme pressure and temperature to destroy the infectious remains of cattle with mad cow disease. "We haven't invented the process, nature discovered that," he said. "We've simply re-designed the equipment so the water breaks down the cells and brings the body back to the chemical component it's made up of, leaving only white chalky bones which are returned to the family in an urn, like ashes," he added. He also said Aquamation costs about the same as cremation, but without the 200kg of greenhouse gas emissions produced in a cremation. He said the technology was also an answer to new European regulations that state mercury pollution has to be reduced at crematoriums by 2012.

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