THE establishment of Fiji's first gas-fired crematorium has been described as an environmentally friendly investment.
Speaking at the opening of the Dignified Cremations Limited crematorium, President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau said this could be an answer to how Fiji could mitigate against the impacts of climate change.
He said in a traditional cremation ceremony about 500 kilograms of firewood was required.
"This in turn produces nearly 500 kilograms of carbon dioxide, which we know is a greenhouse gas responsible for pollution, global warming and climate change," he said.
"On the other hand, this modern cremation furnace operates on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) producing almost zero carbon emission because carbon produced during the cremation process is trapped within the secondary chamber of the machine, and reduced to solid particles.
"Other hazardous compounds present in smoke are also prevented from escaping into the atmosphere through the same process."
Ratu Epeli said cremation in general was space-friendly because it significantly reduced the amount of land required for cemeteries. "Modern gas-fired facilities like this also eliminates the need to cut firewood which in turn reduces the depletion of mangrove forests in our country," he said.
Dignified Cremations managing director Maurice Ruggiero said a visit to his family's ancestral cemetery and crematorium in Italy was his inspiration.
He described work put into building the crematorium as a labour of love.