Kit used by pizzerias and steakhouses a menace to cities, rules report

Wood fired oven

Wood burning stoves and charcoal cooking equipment used by pizza restaurants and steakhouses are an increasing environmental menace to urban cities, experts have declared.

Pollution specialists from the University of Surrey ruled that particle emissions gained from the burning of wood in commercial kitchens is an emerging emissions risk after carrying out a landmark scientific report.

Experts used the city of Sao Paolo in Brazil as a case study due to the fact that it struggles to meet pollution standards less stringent than Delhi or London despite levying a compulsory green policy on fuel.

Crosswind caused by the impact of biomass burning of the Amazon rainforest and agricultural areas of Sao Paulo were found to be a contributory factor on why the city’s air pollution is so toxic, but the team, led by the University of Surrey’s Dr Prashant Kumar, also found that the city’s restaurants were to blame.

“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,” he said.

Although ‘feijoada’ – a pork and bean stew – is recognised as Brazil’s national dish, pizza is revered by the residents of Sao Paulo. A ‘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 of all ages 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, with Sunday being the busiest day of the week.

Dr Kumar said: “There are more than 7.5 hectares of Eucalyptus forest being burned every month by pizzerias and steakhouses. 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.”

Co-author Prof Yang Zhang from the North Carolina State University said the important contributions to particle emissions gained from burning of wood need to be accounted in future studies as it is a significant contributor as a pollutant.

“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. 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.”

Pizza equipment supplier Valoriani UK has come out to back the report and is urging EHOs to pick up on key issues that it raises. Read the fully story HERE.

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