A satellite finds a landfill that emits 1.5 million cars | Currently

A satellite finds a landfill that emits 1.5 million cars |  Currently

Researchers from the Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON) have discovered several landfills with extremely high methane emissions using the Tropomi climate satellite. A landfill in Buenos Aires, Argentina, emits so much methane that its impact on the climate is equivalent to that of 1.5 million cars.

The SRON research team used the Dutch satellite Tropomi to detect polluted cities. They did this by looking at the amount of methane emitted.

Buenos Aires, Delhi and Mumbai in India and Lahore in Pakistan have emerged. Emissions from those cities are on average twice as high as previous estimates.

The researchers then zoomed in on the Canadian GHGSat satellite. The images showed that landfills in those cities are responsible for a large part of the emissions. The results of the study were published in the scientific journal science progress.

The Buenos Aires landfill emits 28 tons of methane per hour, according to the researchers. This equates to the emissions of one and a half million cars. The other three dumps are good for three, six and ten tons of methane per hour. This is due to the climate impact on 130,000 to 500,000 cars.

The largest landfill in Buenos Aires.


The largest landfill in Buenos Aires.

The largest landfill in Buenos Aires.

picture: Getty Images

Difficulty detecting methane leaks

It is difficult to see the methane gas leak because it is an odorless and colorless gas. So satellites provide a solution, says SRON researcher Bram Maskers. The Tropomi satellite is looking for “super-observers that are pumping large clouds of methane into the atmosphere”.

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Massacres says methane stays in the atmosphere for “only” ten years. This is relatively short. “So if we do something about emissions now, we will soon see the result in the form of reducing global warming. Of course, reducing methane alone is not enough, we also have to reduce carbon dioxide. But we can slow climate change with it,” the researcher said.

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