20:16 GMT20 June 2021
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    Since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in India, several educational institutes are working on various innovations to fight it. However, the situation got worse during the second wave when the number of deaths spiked unprecedentedly and unsustainably.

    The Indian Institute of Technology, the country's top engineering institute, has developed the prototype for a mobile electric system that claims to offer smokeless cremation.

    Such an innovation during the present unprecedented situation will not only cater for the country's cremation need but is also less polluting to the environment as it uses half the wood needed for normal cremations. Despite the use of wood, the institute claims this will be an eco-friendly system as it has a combustion air system. Using less wood will also help to reduce the carbon footprint, it claimed.

    With more than 4,000 deaths per day from COVID-19, India is struggling to keep up with the number of cremations necessary. Recently, various reports have revealed that cremation sites are overcrowded and hundreds of dead bodies have been seen floating on rivers.

    Prof Harpreet Singh, Dean of Industrial Consultancy and Sponsored Research and Industry Interaction (ICSR&II), who has developed the system, said in a statement that the cremation system or incinerator heats up to 1044 degree centigrade which ensures complete sterilisation.

    Based on the wick-stove technology, the cart-shaped incinerator on wheels can be transported anywhere. “The disposal of the body is completed within 12 hours - including cooling time - rather than the 48 hours needed in normal wood-based cremation”, the professor said.

    Equipped with stainless steel insulation on both sides to prevent heat loss, the cremation system also has a tray so that ashes may be easily removed.

    He said that he has adapted the technology of a traditional model for cremation as it also uses wood because Indians have strong beliefs about cremating on a wood pyre.

    India continues to account for 50 percent of global COVID-19 cases and 30 percent of global deaths; on Thursday the country reported 362,727 fresh infections and 4,120 deaths in 24 hours.


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