Kolkata Pets Get Their Own Recyclable Burial Ground Where Owners Can Plant A Tree

Published: 23.06.2015


Karuna Kunj in Kolkata

As you drive down south-west of Kolkata, about 12-km off the busy Thakurpukur traffic intersection at Behala, an old iron gate welcomes you to Karuna Kunj - a recyclable pet burial ground that stands as the symbol of eco-end-of-life movement in this bustling eastern India metropolis.

Karuna Kunj offers dignified farewell to the departed 'mute members of the family'. It has become a home for about 6,000 such 'family members' during the past two decades.

The 'memorial to every loving pet' stands in all its gracious serenity at a time when recyclable burial ground idea is spreading in human communities globally.

In the western world, the concept of a citizen-driven movement titled "Be a Tree" is fast catching up.

In the United Kingdom for almost 20 years now, a consumer movement is underway to promote natural burial grounds where people are buried in biodegradable containers without formaldehyde-based embalming fluid or synthetic ingredients and returned to the earth to compost into soil nutrients with a forest of trees marking the spot.

Hundreds of such sites offering some form of natural burial have emerged in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the US and Canada with other countries joining the list. Citizendriven movements in support of natural burials can now be found in Europe, China, Japan, Germany and Africa as well.

According to Debasis Chakrabarti of a non-profit body Compassionate Crusaders Trust (CCT), the concept is that now the masters can bury their pets and return it to the earth to compost into soil nutrients naturally at Karuna Kunj. Here, they plant a tree in the name of their beloved mutes, thereby adding to the rich greenery of the recyclable ground.

"We fight for animal rights. But I believe there cannot be any right without dignity. The message we want to convey through this is that life continues. One may die as a human or a dog but he goes back to nature as a tree and can still contribute," said Chakrabarti of CCT, the body that looks after the shelter for 'destitute mutes' and recyclable pet burial ground.

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