Open trash burning can be intentional or spontaneous.

• Intentional trash burning is often the only household or community level waste management method available in poorly regulated or developing countries and the human health impacts are still not well understood.

• Intentional burning can also be an intentional practice at landfills or illegal dump sites, to create space.

• Spontaneous burning also happens at landfills due to emissions of methane gas.

• Waste burning also happens intentionally along the informal recycling chain, for instance to get rid of the mixed low-value or non-recyclable materials or during the informal recycling of e-waste.

• Harmful pollutants from open-air burning include: fine particulates; black carbon (soot) particles; polychlorinated dibenzo dioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzo furans (PCDFs); and polyaromatic hydrocarbons, including known carcinogens such as benzo(a)pyrene.

• Young children and older adults, especially those with existing respiratory conditions (e.g., asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease etc.) are most susceptible to the immediate negative health effects from open-air burning. Exposure to poly-aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins and furans are linked to problems with cancer, the liver, the immune system, endocrine system, the reproductive system, and the developing systems of the young.



Health and Environmental Effects of Open Burning of Refuse and Other Solid Wastes by Government of Saskatchewan

Open Burning during the COVID-19 Pandemic by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Environmental Effects | Backyard Burning | Wastes by US EPA

Burning of fallen leaves poses health hazards The Times of India

Paper Burning and Associated Pollution Problems in Higher Educational
Institutions of Ethiopia; The Need and Potential for Recycling

by Mekonnen Amberber and Yitayal Addis, Department of Environmental Science, College of Natural and Computational Sciences, Kotebe Metropolitan University, Ethiopia

Join International Waste Platform’s global movement to raise awareness, educate and advocate for environmental regulations to prohibit open burning as a waste management practice.

We invite you or your organisation, business or government to join our campaign by sharing our poster (artwork by Gallifrey Foundation). You can download it free of charge in your country’s language for use in your networks and your community campaign. If your country’s national language is not yet included we can translate a poster for you.

Artwork credit RogueGoneVogue and sponsored by Gallifrey Foundation