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Methane Plumes in Pakistan Put Landfills in the Spotlight

Lahore, the country’s second-largest city, is a global hot spot for emissions of the super-potent greenhouse gas


Photographer: Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images

Satellites spotted a large plume of methane leaking from one of Pakistan’s largest cities last month.

The cloud was seen over Lahore on Aug. 6 and had an emissions rate of about 126 metric tons of methane an hour, according to an estimate from geoanalytics firm Kayrros SAS. That amount of the greenhouse gas would have roughly the same short-term climate warming impact as the annual emissions of 6,200 cars in the U.K. A second, smaller plume was seen above the city on Aug. 31, emitting about 39 tons of methane an hour.