Hawaaii is one of the many places in the world that has a cemetery issue – space for burials is running out. It’s actually been a problem on some islands since the early 1900s. The island chain of Hawaaii has a land area of just 10,931 square miles, much of which is mountainous and/or volcanic. It’s the 8th smallest state in the U.S. despite there being 136 Hawaaian islands.
Many Hawaaians agree that part of the solution is to legalize alkaline hydrolysis, also known as water cremation. Last year residents advocated for water cremation while some funeral homes opposed it. But lack of burial space isn’t the only issue that the new cremation service can address. Residents of Hawaii are calling for the state to legalize alkaline hydrolysis for cultural and environmental reasons as well.
Water Cremation is Sensitive to Native Hawaiian Customs
Native Hawaiians have a rich culture that is fiercely protected by the people. Local mortuary owners note that a unique benefit of water cremation is that it preserves bones better than flame-based cremation. Bone preservation is important to Native Hawaiians and is rooted in religious beliefs and traditions. The traditional belief is that a person’s spiritual essence, the mana, is held in the bones.
We now know that cremation by water preserves the bones better than flame cremation. That’s why water cremation produces 20-30% more cremains than traditional cremation since cremains are simply the bones that have been ground up. Therefore, water cremation is considered a culturally sensitive funeral practice that’s ideal for many native Hawaiians.
Hawaiians Want a Broader Selection of Funeral Services
Over the last decade, statistics show people want the freedom to choose more options, and they want to personalize funeral services much more than in the past. Cultural norms and necessities surrounding death services have changed, and as a result people are increasingly interested in funeral alternatives beyond traditional burial.
One of the biggest issues people have with funeral homes is the lack of options and feeling as if the services are generic. Last year when funeral homes in Hawaii pushed back against legislation that would legalize water cremation it only gave credence to some of the grievances that people have with the industry. Their response was considered proof positive that legislation needs to be passed to give Hawaiian residents more control and choice in their end of life services.
Advocates Highlight the Environmental Benefits of Water Cremation
Ironically, funeral homes said that the legislation didn’t do enough to regulate water cremation, citing that 300 gallons of water would be going into the sewer system every time the service is performed. What they failed to note is that the water from alkaline hydrolysis is perfectly safe to pour down the drain (unlike embalming fluid), and water cremation is one of the most eco-friendly funeral practices from start to finish.
Hawaii is one of the most environmentally conscious states in the country, which is why there’s a push to legalize water cremation. Many water cremation advocates in Hawaii are simply asking the state to allow alkaline hydrolysis so that there’s an environmentally friendly option that doesn’t require more land for burials. They understand that water cremation uses 90% less energy than traditional flame cremation and has a much lower carbon footprint than burial.
Want to know more about water cremation for Texas residents? Green Cremation Texas is a leader in environmentally friendly funeral services, including water cremation. You can give our team a call, email or text any time of day to learn more about this revolutionary service.