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Study shows global garbage burning is polluting skies with emissions beyond official tallies

A new study shows that rampant trash-burning is releasing more polluting emissions than governments are reporting.

The researchers estimate about 41 percent of the world's garbage is burned in backyards, fields, dumps or incinerators. Most governments only tally emissions from incinerators.

The study published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Science and Technology presents a country-by-country index of rough emissions of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other pollutants like tiny particulate matter.

China and India were found to burn the most trash by residents, while China, Brazil and Mexico burned the most at dumps.

The study's lead author, Christine Wiedinmyer of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, acknowledged some estimates could be off by 20-50 percent. But she hoped the research would help policy-makers take steps to clear the air.