Emission factors for PM 10 and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from illegal burning of different types of municipal waste in households

Hoffer, András; Jancsek-Turóczi, Beatrix; Tóth, Ádám; Kiss, Gyula; Naghiu, Anca; Levei, Erika Andrea; Marmureanu, Luminita; Machon, Attila; Gelencsér, András

It is a common practice in developing countries and in some regions of Europe that solid wastes generated in households (e.g. plastic beverage packaging and other plastic wastes, textile wastes, fibreboards, furniture, tyres, and coloured-paper waste) are burned in wood- or coal-fired stoves during the winter months. In Europe, the types and volume of municipal waste burned in households is virtually unknown because these activities are illegal and not recorded, with the exception of a few media reports or court cases. Even though particulate emissions from illegal waste burning pose a significant hazard to human health due to the combination of excessive emission factors (EFs) and uncontrolled chemical composition, there is scarce information on the specific EFs for PMinline-formula10 and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the scientific literature. In this work, controlled combustion tests were performed with 12 different types of municipal solid waste, and particulate emissions were measured and collected for chemical analysis. Absolute EFs for PMinline-formula10 and PAHs as well as the benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) toxicity equivalent of the latter are reported for the first time for the indoor combustion of 12 common types of municipal solid waste that are frequently burned in households worldwide. It was found that the PMinline-formula10 emission factors from the combustion of wood-based waste samples were about twice that of firewood, whereas EFs in the range of 11–82 mg ginline-formula−1 (a factor of 5–40 times higher than that of dry firewood under the same conditions) were obtained for different types of plastic waste. The latter were also found to emit exceptionally high quantities of PAHs, by a factor of 50–750 more than upon the combustion of dry firewood under the same conditions. Since the more toxic 4–6 ring PAHs were predominant in the particulate emission from plastic waste burning, BaP equivalent toxicity was up to 4100 times higher than that from wood combustion.



Hoffer, András / Jancsek-Turóczi, Beatrix / Tóth, Ádám / et al: Emission factors for PM10 and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from illegal burning of different types of municipal waste in households. 2020. Copernicus Publications.


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