Landfills near cities are a source of a lot of methane contributing to warming – Earth – Science and technology

Landfills near large cities are a source of large amounts of methane emissions, which contribute to global warming. That’s according to a study published this week in the journal Science Advances.

Scientists who participated in it monitored the release of gases over four large cities – Delhi and Mumbai in India, Lahore in Pakistan and Buenos Aires in Argentina. They found that the amount of pollutants released into the atmosphere above them in 2018 and 2019 was 1.4 to 2.6 times higher than previously estimated.

The published study was created with the aim of helping local governments, striving to contribute to slowing down warming, to focus on specific problem areas. When organic waste such as food, wood or paper breaks down, methane is released into the air. From a global perspective, landfills are the third highest emitter of methane after the oil and agricultural sectors. Although methane accounts for only 11 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, it remains in the air for decades and retains 80 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

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Scientists estimate that methane produced by human activity is responsible for 25 percent of global warming. “Satellite images taken over landfills were used for the first time to calculate methane emissions. We found that although these dumps are small compared to the area of ​​the cities, they have a large share of the emissions released from the entire area,” said study co-author Joannes Maasakkers from the Netherlands Institute for Space Research.

As the AP wrote, detecting emissions with the help of satellites is a relatively new field, but it is being used more and more often to monitor the amount of gases in the air. It means that more and more independent organizations are monitoring greenhouse gases and are able to point to their main emitters. Until now, mainly government data has been available in this field. “This research shows that there is a need to better monitor landfills, especially in countries like India, where these sites often burn and release a lot of pollutants into the air,” said Euan Nisbet of the University of London, who was not involved in the study.

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This year, Delhi was engulfed in smoke from a burning landfill for days as the country grappled with extreme heat, with temperatures crossing 50 degrees Celsius. Nisbet said satellite technology, along with ground-based measurement, will allow scientists to identify those responsible for polluting the world.

A recent study by the International Energy Agency (IEA) identified India and China as the biggest methane polluters. At last year’s international climate conference, 104 countries pledged to reduce emissions of this gas by 30 percent by 2030 compared to 2020, but China and India are not among these countries.


Source: Pravda – Veda a technika by vat.pravda.sk.

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