Science

Cadavers into Compost

Let’s face it, we have overpopulation and no place on Earth to put all the garbage we produce. Human bodies make great fertilizer for the Earth. Composting bodies is an environmentally friendly way to deal with dead bodies with ease. Other methods to dispose of bodies, such as cremation, releases lots of carbon dioxide and occupy lots of lands that could have a better purpose. Composting allowed for microbes to break down the cadavers into the soil which permits the human body to give back to the Earth. In 2019, Washington became the first state to legalize this option of post-life. A scientist from Washington State University called Lynne Carpenter-Boggs described a trial experiment in which six cadavers were put into containers plants. Four to seven weeks later the microbes had decomposed the bodies to the soil. Each body transformed into 1.5 to 2 cubic yards of soil-like material. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved and declared that this method of disposing of bodies meets the safety standards of the institution. The idea of applying it to humans makes perfect sense. The heat produced by the microbes has an advantage. It kills off dangerous pathogens making the soil automatically sterile. 

Unfortunately, one thing not killed by the high heat of the busy microbes is prions, extremely durable misfolded proteins that can cause disease. It remains to be seen how widely adopted the process of composting human bodies becomes. 

Camila Pedroza

My name is Camila Pedroza. I am a senior who loves her senior class. I am from Peru. My favorite food is pesto. A word that would describe me would be lowkey.

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