Mumbai: There is a need to promote eco-friendly cremations using LPG as mode of fuel, according to environmental activist Vijay Limaye.
"LPG is readily available and does not cause pollution. The facility should be made available at every crematorium across India so that we save trees for our future generations," Limaye said.
Every year, over 4.5 million people are cremated using wood as fuel in the country, he said.
"To fulfil this need, 4.5 million trees of around 20 years of age are cut. With increase in population, this number is rising every year," he said.
"If we consider forest density of 50,000 trees per sq km, we are losing almost 90 sq km jungle every year just to cremate bodies," Limaye said.
"A single tree fulfils oxygen needs of two humans. By cutting 4.5 million trees per year we are eliminating oxygen of 9 million humans. Tree is the only thing that produces oxygen from carbon dioxide without using any energy," he said.
A single tree is also home for about 15 bird families in the form of nests, he said. "If we consider three offspring per nest, almost 45 birds get killed on a single tree. This is the reason why bird population is fast decreasing in India and many species of birds are getting extinct," Limaye said.
"Almost every day, there are reports of leopards attacking humans in places like Nashik, Powai and Chandrapur in Maharashtra. Leopards kill prey and hide it on the tree top. Due to cutting of trees we are destroying their habitat and disturbing food chain," he said.
Soil erosion due to cutting of trees also leads to depletion of ground water table, causing drought like situation in various parts of India, Limaye added.