International charitable organization “Environment-People-Law” (EPL) calls for not burning dry vegetation, but to compost it with the purpose to fertilize private plots. Domestic waste (PET bottles, plastic, polyethylene, paper, cardboard) need to be sorted separately and resource-consuming components are to be taken to collection points, while the remaining waste is to be landfilled. If separate waste collection points are not organized, especially in rural areas, you should request from local authorities that such points are set up in accordance with Article 21 of the Law of Ukraine “On Waste”1.
The burning of dry vegetation and waste has already become a systemic phenomenon in Ukraine both in autumn and spring. With the onset of autumn, cities and villages are again plunged into smoke and fire. People, while “caring” about clean and neat yards, farmland, field, do not realize that cause harm first of all to health of their family members, primarily children, the people around them and the environment. EPL repeatedly emphasized on its website and in the media the danger of burning both dry vegetation and domestic waste, and relevant materials can be found here2.
Burning of dry vegetation and waste has a detrimental effect on the environment, as it leads to pollution of the air, causes various diseases of people, destroys ecosystems, in particular, it leads to destruction of insects, animals, plants and microorganisms, deterioration of soil quality. EPL produced a video clip about the harm caused to the nature as a result of dry vegetation burning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNIwgrgo_Yo.
The burning of one ton of leaves causes emission of 30 kg of carbon monoxide. Even if dry vegetation has insignificant level of humidity, the temperature of burning is reduced and incomplete combustion causes fromation of carbon monoxide. When the leaves and grass are burning, only the upper part of the fire receives a sufficient amount of oxygen (that is, high temperature), while the middle layers smolder and produce smoke, releasing toxic and harmful to health and the environment chemicals: carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides. Carbon monoxide is dangerous substance that easily binds to blood hemoglobin and blocks the flow of oxygen to the tissues, resulting in oxygen starvation and “choking” of cells of a human body. The burning of domestic waste, including plastic, in the yard leads to air pollution with complex organic substances, in particular, polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Harmful substances are deposited in the lungs and lead to asthma, diseases of the cardiovascular system, cancer.
According to the World Health Organization, annually seven million people die as a result of breathing polluted air3.
Environmental pollution is due to the low combustion temperatures of both dry vegetation and waste. In European countries waste can be incinerated only at specialized enterprises at the temperature above 800 degrees and cleaning filters are also obligatory.
Therefore, EPL encourages Ukrainians to compost dry vegetation and properly dispose domestic waste, and thereby preserve the environment and health of future generations.