16 Aug 2023
 | 16 Aug 2023

Assessment of the contribution of residential waste burning to ambient PM10 concentrations in Hungary and Romania

András Hoffer, Aida Meiramova, Ádám Tóth, Beatrix Jancsek-Turóczi, Gyula Kiss, Erika Andrea Levei, Luminita Marmureanu, Attila Machon, and András Gelencsér

Abstract. The illegal burning of solid wastes in residential stoves is an existing practice yet until now it has been completely disregarded as an emission source of atmospheric pollutants in many developed countries including those in Eastern Europe. Various types of solid wastes (plastics, treated wood, plyboards, tyre, rag, etc.) serve as an auxiliary fuel in many households, in particular during the heating season. In this work, for the first time ever in atmospheric pollution studies, specific tracer compounds identified previously in controlled test burnings of different waste types in the laboratory were detected and quantified in ambient PM10 samples collected in 5 Hungarian and 4 Romanian settlements. Using the identified tracers and their experimentally determined relative emission factors the potential contribution of illegal waste burning emissions to ambient PM10 mass concentrations was assessed. Our findings implied that the burning of PET-containing waste (food and beverage packaging, clothes) was predominant at all locations, especially in North-Eastern Hungary and Romania. There is substantial evidence that the burning of scrap furniture is also common in big cities in Hungary and Romania. Back-of-the-envelope calculations based on the relative emission factors of individual tracers suggested that the contribution of solid waste burning particulate emissions to ambient PM10 mass concentrations may be as high as a few percents. This finding, when considering the extreme health hazards associated with particulate emissions from waste burning, is a matter of serious public health concerns.

András Hoffer et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1786', Anonymous Referee #1, 09 Oct 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1786', Anonymous Referee #2, 14 Oct 2023
  • AC1: 'Author comment on egusphere-2023-1786', András Hoffer, 22 Nov 2023

András Hoffer et al.


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Short summary
Besides biomass burning, the burning of different types of household wastes is a non-negligible source of particulate matter in human settlements. This work is the first attempt to assess the potential contribution of solid waste burning in households to ambient PM10 concentrations in different settlements in Hungary and Romania based on laboratory measurements of specific tracers of waste burning.