Corpse dissolution shot down as alternative funeral method

Ryan Callus voices concern that aquamation as a burial method disrespects human dignity

Aquamation, the dissolving of a corpse in water and sodium hydroxide, will not be included in an upcoming policy on cemeteries. The policy, drafted by MEPA, had highlighted it as the burial option which had the lowest total environmental impact.

The decision was made in a discussion within the environment and development planning committee, during which planning parliamentary secretary Michael Falzon said that concerns had been raised on the possibility of aquamation.
“Aquamation is a burial process that culminates in parts of the body getting drained into the sewage system,” Opposition MP Ryan Callus said. “The Opposition’s objection to aquamation is not based on religious reasons, but on reasons of human dignity.” 

Aquamation did receive some degree of support from Labour whip Godfrey Farrugia, who pointed out that it is basically a fast-fast-forward version of degeneration on a scientific level.

“Bone remains from aquamation can still be given to the family as in the case of cremation,” he said.

Other new funeral methods explored in the policy include burial at sea and cryomation- immersing a corpse in liquid nitrogen and fragmenting it into small particles. It also proposed the setting up of a crematorium.

The policy, Falzon explained, focuses primarily on the extension of cemeteries rather than the creation of new ones. It will include a management plan regarding access, cemetery car parks and the maintenance of cemeteries.