Humans leave a mark on the earth not only when they are alive but also in their death with their corpses altering the chemistry of soil.
A study from the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague shows that dead bodies whether buried or cremated release essential nutrients like iron, zinc, sulphur, phosphorous into the soil that may be later used as farms, forests or parks. But the earth’s soil is only altered when we don’t pursue the human funerary in a natural process which is leaving the body to be dispersed naturally without cremating.
Due to this, the nutrients in some places are over concentrated thus leaving the plants for optimal absorption and some places lack nutrients and moreover human bodies have sinister elements like dental fillings that do not decompose for centuries.
Ladislav Smejda of the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague says “Chemical traces of the decomposed bodies can be distinguished very well in the soil and these traces persist from centuries to millennia.”
He also said that what we do with our dead will affect the environment after a very long time and these effects will be known only when the dead bodies are plenty in the soil. This might not be problem right now but be a pressing trouble in future.
Smejda and his team used x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy to analyse the chemical composition of soil in graves .
Using animal carcasses out in the soil ,they also measured the soil composition and among these two the ground containing animal carcasses had higher concentration of chemicals compared to human graves.
He said that “ Our burial or cremation is not regarded as the natural process as the impact of that is changing the natural levels of soil.”
He conceded “it’s a vey complex matter which in many religions and cultures consider this as taboo but certainly we should invent methods of burial that are more environmental friendly”.