Nearly Half the World’s Trash Is Burned, and That’s Worsening Climate Change

Trash burning around the globe is worsening air pollution, pumping more emissions into the atmosphere than previously thought, according to a new study.

More than 40 percent of the world’s garbage is burned in such fires, emitting gases and particles that can substantially affect human health and climate change, estimates the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), which led the study

The global impact on greenhouse gas emissions appears to be less, though still significant, with burning trash producing an amount of carbon dioxide equal to an estimated 5 percent of reported human-related emissions

The study looks at pollutants such as particulates, carbon monoxide, and mercury that are emitted by the fires, as well as carbon dioxide – the most common greenhouse gas produced by human activity.

With trash burning causing such harmful health and environmental effects, you would think the practice would get more attention. But reality is emissions from burning trash in open fires often go unreported to environmental agencies and are left out of many national inventories of air pollution. As a result, there are currently no policies regulating the act
Trash burning produces mercury, chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and fine particulate matter.

These pollutants have been linked to heart and lung disease, neurological disorders, and cancer. Annual emissions of mercury and PAHs may have been underestimated by 10 to 40 percent, the researchers said

Trash burning may also be clogging the air with far more particulate matter than was previously thought. A global tally of reported pollutants indicated that 34 million kilograms of tiny airborne particles called PM 2.5 are released into the air annually

African Climate reporters therefore deem it fit to draw the attention every stake holder to rise-up and start sensitizing citizens on the dangers of burning trash and calls for creative ways of recycling them to save environment from all sort of pollution that are harmful to human


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