I do not want to suggest that most environmentalists are Luddites or that the environmental movement is opposed to economic development. Indeed, hardly a speech is made today that does not tout the economic benefits of environmental protection. Less focus is given, however, to the environmental benefits of economic development.
I therefore thought it worth noting that, according to a recent study published in Environmental Science and Technology, more than 40% of trash disposal world-wide is accomplished through open-air burning. It should be no surprise that the greatest emissions from open-air burning come from developing countries, including China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Pakistan, and Turkey. The flip side, of course, is that wealthier countries can afford the regulatory systems that prevent such open-air burning and consequent emissions.