Canadian Pizza Magazine

Wood-burning stoves may harm environment, study suggests

By Canadian Pizza   

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Guildford, U.K. – A recent study suggests emissions in major cities caused by restaurants such as pizzerias and steakhouses using wood burners can be damaging to the urban environment.

The city of Sao Paolo in Brazil was used as a case study. The findings published in the journal Atmospheric Environment indicate the underlying causes of pollution in Sao Paulo, one of which is emissions from wood-burning stoves. The study is a collaborative effort by 10 air pollution experts from seven universities, led by the University of Surrey’s Prashant Kumar under the umbrella of University Global Partnership Network.

Pizza is revered by the residents of Sao Paulo, according to a news release from the University of Surrey. The “pizza day” is celebrated every July and the neighbourhood pizzeria is the Sunday dinner with the family venue for most of the city’s residents. People line up for hours outside pizzerias every Sunday evening and the city is home to around 8,000 pizza parlours that produce close to a million pizzas a day and can seat up to around 600 people a time. In addition to the 800 pizzas a day being made using old-fashioned wood-burning stoves, a further 1,000 a day are produced for home delivery.

“It became evident from our work that despite there not being the same high level of pollutants from vehicles in the city as other megacities, there had not been much consideration of some of the unaccounted sources of emissions. These include wood burning in thousands of pizza shops or domestic waste burning,” Kumar said in the news release.


“There are more than 7.5 hectares of eucalyptus forest being burned every month by pizzerias and steakhouses,” he said. “A total of over 307,000 tonnes of wood is burned each year in pizzerias. This is significant enough of a threat to be of real concern to the environment negating the positive effect on the environment that compulsory green biofuel policy has on vehicles.”

“Once in the air, the emitted pollutants can undergo complex physical and chemical processes to form harmful secondary pollutants such as ozone and secondary aerosol,” said Yang Zhang of the North Carolina State University, one of the study’s co-authors. “While most studies in Brazil have focused on impacts of vehicle emissions on air quality and human health, the impacts of emissions from wood/coal burning and meat-cooking in pizzerias and restaurants are yet to be quantified”

The full paper is available here.

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