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Trash burning worldwide significantly worsens air pollution
Date:8/26/2014

f a group of gases known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These pollutants have been linked to such significant health impacts as decreased lung function, neurological disorders, cancer, and heart attacks.

Trash burning in some countries accounts for particularly high quantities of certain types of pollutants. In China, for example, 22 percent of larger particles (those up to 10 microns in diameter) come from burning garbage.

The global impact on greenhouse gas emissions appears to be less, though still significant, with burning trash producing an estimated 5 percent of human-related carbon dioxide emissions. (By comparison, the Kyoto Protocol strove for a global 5 percent cut in greenhouse-gas emissions from industrialized countries.) In certain developing countriessuch as Lesotho, Burundi, Mali, Somalia, and Sri Lankathe trash burning produces more carbon dioxide than is tallied in official inventories. This discrepancy can be important in international negotiations over reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Wiedinmyer said the next step in her research will be to track the pollutants to determine where they are having the greatest impacts.

"This study was a first step to put some bounds on the magnitude of this issue," she said. "The next step is to look at what happens when these pollutants are emitted into the atmospherewhere are they being transported and which populations are being most affected."


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Contact: David Hosansky
hosansky@ucar.edu
303-497-8611

Bob Henson
bhenson@ucar.edu
303-497-8605
National Center for Atmospheric Research/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research


Source:Eurekalert  

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