Nearly half of global trash is burned, creating more pollution than reported: study
Study says nearly half of garbage is incinerated, much unreported
NEW DELHI – Rampant trash-burning is throwing more pollution and toxic particles into the air than governments are reporting, according to a scientific study estimating that more than 40 percent of the world’s garbage is burned.
The study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, attempts the first comprehensive assessment of global trash-burning data, including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, mercury and tiny particulate matter that can dim the sun’s rays or clog human lungs.
“Doing this study made me realize how little information we really have about garbage burning and waste management,” said lead researcher Christine Wiedinmyer of the government-funded National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. “What’s really interesting is all the toxins. We need to look further at that.”
It also presents the first country-by-country index of rough emissions estimates for both carbon dioxide and toxic pollutants linked to human disease, though researchers acknowledged the index is a “first draft” based on estimates, and so some measures could be off by 20 to 50 percent.
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