Four cities’ landfills around the world emit as much methane as 2 million cars, according to a new study by SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Technology.
The study found that the landfills in each of these four cities are responsible for emitting methane equal to that of hundreds of thousands of cars. The four cities, Buenos Aires, Mumbai, Lahore, and Delhi, were found to be the worst emitters through analyzed satellite data.
Researchers found that landfills made up for the most amount of methane emissions within the cities. One of the most concerning, a landfill in Buenos Aires, emits about 28 tons of methane an hour. This is equivalent to as many as 1.5 million cars.
“That is painful to watch because you can solve it with relatively little effort. You could for example separate and compost the organic waste, which would drastically reduce methane production. And even in the case of mixed waste, you can still collect or flare the methane produced,” lead author Bram Maasakkers said in a statement.
A report by the United Nations highlights the importance of reducing methane emissions to reduce global warming. Methane is especially dangerous since its 28 times more effective at trapping heat over 100 years, and human activity is responsible for half of the methane emissions.
“Methane has a lifetime of only about ten years in the atmosphere, so if we act now, we will quickly see results in the form of less global warming. Of course, reducing methane emissions is not enough, we also need to limit CO2, but it does slow down near-term climate change.”
In the United States, the Biden Administration continues its push to reduce emissions. “Methane gets less attention than its big bad brother, carbon dioxide, but in truth, methane is like carbon dioxide on steroids,” Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, said during a discussion on reducing emissions.
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