While much of our time is focused on simply surviving a zombie apocalypse, rarely do we consider life after the fact. If mankind is to endure a post-apocalyptic world, we must eventually pick up the pieces and rebuild civilization. But what should be done with the millions of infected zombie corpses littering our streets; is cremation a viable option?

Unlike a battlefield, the zombie apocalypse will likely be fought in neighborhoods, on the streets, and in homes around the world. In Night of the Living Dead, George A. Romero envisioned militias roaming the countryside, gathering the undead for impromptu bonfires; while director Dan O’Bannon explicitly blames cremation for spreading the infection in his classic 1985 film The Return of the Living Dead. So which is it? The recent Ebola outbreak in Africa may shed some light on the question, as reported in TIME by Aryn Baker.

An Ebola victim is most contagious in the moments and days after death, when unprotected contact with infected bodily fluids carries an extremely high risk of transmission. Liberia’s traditional burial practices, in which mourners bathe, dress and even kiss the corpse, are widely credited with the early explosion of Ebola in the country, where over 2,000 have so far died of the disease. Overwhelmed by the increasing number of dead, and faced with community fears that the buried bodies may also transmit the disease—which, if interred properly, they won’t—Liberia’s government declared in August that all those who died of Ebola should be cremated.

However, the differences between a professional cremation and an open-air funeral pyre are drastic. In fact, there is only a single outdoor human cremation facility currently operating in the entire United States. And it can take more than four hours to dispose of one human body. Obviously the logistics of a cleanup effort via zombie cremation are almost insurmountable.

Even if we are able to collect the biologically hazardous remains, transport them safely, and operate the facilities non-stop; the process could take decades. That’s also assuming we’re able to overcome a limited fuel supply, and no new zombie infections occur. Not to mention finding survivors dedicated, and brave enough, to work in such perilous conditions.

According to Cremation Urns, exactly where all of the different molecules go, and what new substances they form, is still a matter for chemists and scientists to ponder. Yet, our safest and most viable option against the zombie apocalypse still remains; burn them with fire!

For more information on the safe handling of human remains per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding crematory practitioners, Ebola victims, and biologic terrorism, please visit the respective websites. Because what you don’t know, can eat you!

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