Such gasses are blamed for global warming and even the melting of the Himalayan glaciers that nourish the population creating doing the faith-based pollution.
Researchers from Nevada’s Desert Research Institute and India’s Pandit Ravi Shankar Shukla University made the discovery while studying emissions between 2011 and 2012 from marriage ceremonies, funeral cremations and from the burning of incense sticks in temples and graveyards.
They found mango bark, cow dung, camphor, leaves, vermillion and cow urine being burned in the process.
Such burning creates toxic volatile organic compounds, including formaldehyde, benzene, styrene and butadiene, the researchers told the journal Nature.
Funeral pyres emit large quantities of “brown carbon aerosol” gases, which are considered the second-largest contributor to global warming.
“There are 3 million religious places of worship in India alone and over 10 million marriages take place every year in this country, according to the 2011 census. When these results were multiplied to fit these scales, the quantum (amount) of emissions was just baffling,” said Indian researcher Shamsh Pervez.