Pakistan Landfill Confirms Methane Leaks, Blames Higher Dumping
(Bloomberg) -- The operator of a giant landfill in Lahore, Pakistan, said higher-than-average waste dumping contributed to releases of super-potent greenhouse gases from the site earlier this year.
There were multiple reasons for abnormally high leaks in July and August, according to Muhammad Saad, senior manager of the Lahore Waste Management Co., which operates the Lakhodair landfill in the northeast part of the city. Among them were offal being dumped after the Eid al-Adha holiday at the end of July.
The Monsoon season increases methane emissions from the site, Saad said. There were also nearby industrial units that operated during that time that may have also contributed.
Last month, Bloomberg Green reported that satellites had spotted a large methane plume above Lahore, one of Pakistan’s largest cities. While the precise source of the gas was difficult to pinpoint based on the images, decomposing trash is a common source of urban methane leaks.
Lahore is a global hotspot of methane emissions. Apart from the leaks in August, geoanalytics firm GHGSat, which can find methane leaks at a higher detection resolution, spotted a plume from the Lakhodair landfill on July 1.
Landfills produce methane when garbage breaks down in the absence of oxygen. At some point the gas escapes into the atmosphere if adequate measures aren't in place to prevent leaks.
While pressure is mounting on the oil and gas industry to reduce methane leaks, limiting emissions from sources such as landfills is also critical. Lahore Waste Management couldn’t comment on how much methane exactly has been leaked from the Lakhodair landfill in recent years because the company doesn’t monitor those emissions.
They also don’t have any equipment to limit leaks. But that could change. The company is in the early stages of developing plans to construct a plant that would capture and use the gas produced by the landfill to produce electricity.
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