Scientists Say Wood-Fired Pizza Is Bad For The Environment

REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker (BRAZIL) - RTR1UH8L

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Craig Boudreau Vice Reporter
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Brazil’s penchant for wood-fired pizza is harming the urban environment, according to a report that claims this pizza method is polluting the atmosphere.

In a piece published by the journal
Atmospheric Environment, researchers show that eateries like wood-fired pizzerias actually increase pollution.

“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.” Dr. Prashant Kumar, lead researcher of the study told in an interview Friday. “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.”

Brazil is home to 25,000 pizzerias, which employ nearly 124,000 people and make 1.5 million pizzas a day. The country loves pizza so much, it actually has a day devoted to the food. July 10 marks “pizza day” in Brazil, where residents will wait in lines for hours to get their favorite food.

Since Brazil has the first “sustainable biofuels economy” — a full 25 percent of the gasoline it uses is made with ethanol from sugarcane — researchers were trying to figure out why Brazil still had pollution issues.

“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.” Kumar told, “These include wood burning in thousands of pizza shops or domestic waste burning.”

San Vitaliano, Italy banned wood-fired pizzerias in 2015 amid pollution concerns. According to Italian newspaper Il Mattino, San Vitaliano actually had higher levels of pollution than Beijing.

Local pizza makers and residents don’t buy the hype though. “We cannot be the cause of the smog, Naples has many more pizzerias than San Vitaliano and do not reach those levels of pollution.” one commenter wrote in a piece published by Cucina News in 2015, “It is clear that the real causes do not want to be identified. Meanwhile, this ordinance is a very expensive mistake for us.”

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