Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Professor of Bioresource Systems



+44 (0)20 7594 6051s.r.smith




Miss Judith Barritt +44 (0)20 7594 5967




229Skempton BuildingSouth Kensington Campus






BibTex format

author = {Reyna-Bensusan, N and Wilson, DC and Davy, PM and Fuller, GW and Fowler, GD and Smith, SR},
doi = {10.1016/j.atmosenv.2019.06.047},
pages = {629--639},
title = {Experimental measurements of black carbon emission factors to estimate the global impact of uncontrolled burning of waste},
url = {},
volume = {213},
year = {2019}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Open burning is a widely practiced method of solid waste disposal in many regions of the world and represents a significant source of air pollution. Black carbon (BC) is a particularly serious air pollutant emitted from the uncontrolled burning of waste in open fires because it has a global warming potential (GWP) up to 5000 times greater than carbon dioxide (CO2) and is also linked to detrimental health impacts. However, few quantitative measurements of BC from open burning have been completed to establish the extent and impacts of this emission source on the environment. Emission factors (EFs) for BC from burning mixed solid waste samples were measured in the laboratory based on waste compositions in a representative developing country (Mexico). Black carbon EFs were also derived for individual waste types, including: green waste, different types of plastics, textiles and paper and cardboard. Individual waste BC EFs were combined using waste composition data from different areas of the world to estimate regional and global BC emissions from this source. The results demonstrated that BC emissions from open burning of waste have a significant climate impact, equivalent to 2–10% of global CO2Eq emissions. Global BC CO2Eq emissions from burning waste are 2–8 times larger compared to methane (CH4) CO2Eq emissions arising from the decomposition of equivalent amounts of combustible biodegradable waste disposed at dumpsites. Action to reduce open burning of waste would have a significant and immediate benefit to improving air quality and reducing the potential impact on climate change.
AU - Reyna-Bensusan,N
AU - Wilson,DC
AU - Davy,PM
AU - Fuller,GW
AU - Fowler,GD
AU - Smith,SR
DO - 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2019.06.047
EP - 639
PY - 2019///
SN - 1352-2310
SP - 629
TI - Experimental measurements of black carbon emission factors to estimate the global impact of uncontrolled burning of waste
UR -
UR -
UR -
VL - 213
ER -