Landfill methane emissions 40% higher than reported: Study

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Methane emissions from US landfills are about 40% higher than reported, according to a new study published in Science in which scientists used space probes to determine the source of most of the waste.

The analysis shows that although the releases are not reported much they also provide opportunities for mitigation as most releases last for months or years. Aerial monitoring offers significant advantages over current monitoring methods that often involve a worker traversing parts of a landfill with a detector covering areas with high levels of methane.

The powerful and invisible greenhouse gas, which has the potential to heat up carbon dioxide 80 times over the first 20 years in the atmosphere, is a major component of fossil fuels, but it is also produced by landfills when natural resources such as food residues are broken down. down without air. Satellites have also helped identify dumps, landfills and waste from India to Argentina as potential methane-rich sites.

Scientists in a recent report noted that more than 200 landfills in 18 states participate in the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program. They found that 52% of the sites examined had visible gas – meaning it was clear to see that they were a direct source of methane.

Methane from landfills makes up about 20% of global emissions and is the third largest source after agriculture and fossil fuels caused by human activity. There are about 1,200 open positions in the US.

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