Coal dust pollution in the spotlight at public meeting

 

The health and environmental impacts of coal dust from uncovered coal trains will be the focus of a public meeting this week in Brisbane.

For months legal and health experts have been calling on the State Government to step up its approach to tackling air pollution, in particular pollution from coal mines.

That includes expanding the air quality network and pressuring governments to follow the findings of a 2013 senate inquiry that recommended companies be forced to cover coal wagons.

Despite the recommendations, and complaints from Gladstone residents, coal trains still pass through Central Queensland communities and into the Gladstone Port uncovered.

Some wagons are sprayed with substances based on latex or organic material, designed to stop the dust.

However according to law firm Environmental Justice Australia there is no independent research proving the sprays work.

Central Queensland has 13 of the 20 biggest polluting coal mines in Queensland and this month it was revealed a record breaking 5.8 million tonnes of coal was exported through the Gladstone Port in January alone.

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