Revealed: the 1,200 big methane leaks from waste dumps trashing the planet

 

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There have been more than 1,000 huge leaks of the potent greenhouse gas methane from landfill waste dumps since 2019, the Guardian can reveal.

Analysis of global satellite data from around the world shows the populous nations of south Asia are a hotspot for these super-emitter events, as well as Argentina and Spain, developed countries where proper waste management should prevent leaks.

Landfills emit methane when organic waste such as food scraps, wood, card, paper and garden waste decompose in the absence of oxygen. Methane, also called natural gas, traps 86 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide over 20 years, making it a critical target for climate action. Scientists have said emissions from unmanaged landfills could double by 2050 as urban populations grow, blowing the chance of avoiding climate catastrophe.

 

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