NEW DELHI (AP) — Rampant trash-burning is throwing more pollution and toxic particles into the air than governments are reporting, according to a scientific study estimating more than 40 percent of the world's garbage is burned....
While many governments tally emissions from incinerators, trash that is burned in backyards, fields and dumps is mostly unregulated and unreported.
Researchers pulled together existing data on population, per capita production of trash and official reports on waste disposal to calculate how much garbage is burned around the world each year. The answer: 41 percent of our global 2 billion-ton annual output goes up in flames.
China and India were found to have the most trash burned by residents, while China, Brazil and Mexico burned the most at garbage dumps.
Much of the world's air pollution can be blamed on burning garbage, including discarded plastics, busted electronics, broken furniture and food scraps.
China's trash-burning emissions, for example, are not reflected in official data for slightly larger PM10 particulate matter, though the study shows those emissions are equal to 20 percent of what's reported.
The study also showed that global trash burning releases about 5 percent of the world's man-made emissions of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas.