Tuesday, September 20, 2011

India's burning issue with emissions from Hindu funeral pyres

Draped in a white shroud, the body of a man is engulfed in flames atop a massive pile of wood, the insatiable fire churning out ashes for hours.

A few yards away, a group of mourners chants prayers as the stench of burning flesh guides a billowing cloud of black smoke high into the Indian sky.

This is a traditional Hindu funeral pyre -- an ancient ritual that goes back thousands of years in which devotees cremate bodies by burning firewood in an open ground.

"The smoke is all around the ground," said Ankur Agrawal, a 31-year-old iron merchant who recently attended the final rites of his uncle at a cremation ground in the city of Moradabad in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. "There is a lot of consumption of wood," he added. more