How's Your Air

There are two good ways to learn more about air pollution where you live.

First, you can learn about the air pollution monitoring conducted nearby. In Australian cities, the environment department or Environmental Protection Authority has a network of air pollution monitoring stations. Details about these stations and the pollution levels they record are available here.

Second, the National Pollutant Inventory provides free information about emissions of 93 toxic substances. By searching the NPI site, you can identify major polluters in any part of Australia and learn how their emissions to air, water and land have varied year by year.

Particle pollution causes serious health problems in Australia. Coal mines are responsible for almost half the nation’s total coarse particle (PM10) emissions each year, and emissions have doubled in the last five years. Coal-fired power stations are a major source of fine particle (PM2.5) emissions. In the Latrobe Valley, power stations emitted 4.3 million kilograms of PM2.5 pollution in 2013-14, more than 97% of the Valley’s total PM2.5 pollution.

Air Pollution Hot Spots

 

1

PORT HEDLAND

BIGGEST SOURCE:

Iron ore dust from port operations

PROBLEM:

Pollution from iron ore dust regularly exceeds national standards. Hospitalisation for respiratory problems is 30% higher than WA average.

2

MT ISA

BIGGEST SOURCE:

Copper, lead, zinc mines

PROBLEM:

Asthma mortality rates are 322% higher than the rest of Queensland. At least 11% of children have lead posioning.

3

GLADSTONE

BIGGEST SOURCE:

Coal operations, aluminium smelter, chemical manufacturing

PROBLEM:

Community concern for years over excessive coal dust, alumina dust and other toxic air pollutants.

4

BRISBANE

BIGGEST SOURCE:

Coal trains

PROBLEM:

8.6 million tonnes of coal a year transported through Brisbane suburbs in uncovered trains.

5

HUNTER VALLEY

BIGGEST SOURCE:

Coal mines and coal trains

PROBLEM:

The national standard for PM10 pollution was exceeded 171 times in 2013 in the Hunter region.

6

MORWELL

BIGGEST SOURCE:

Coal mines and coal firest power stations

PROBLEM:

One of the highest PM pollution levels in Australia. The 2014 Hazlewood coal mine fire cause pollution 15 times the acceptable limit.

7

YARRAVILLE

BIGGEST SOURCE:

Diesel trucks - 7000 trucks daily on one residential street

PROBLEM:

Particle pollution exceeds safe healthy levels on numerous days each year.

8

BROOKLYN

BIGGEST SOURCE:

Nearby industrial estate

PROBLEM:

Worst air and dust pollution levels in Melbourne. Particulate pollution regularly exceeds acceptable limit.

9

ANGLESEA

BIGGEST SOURCE:

Coal mines and power station

PROBLEM:

Power station emits high levels of sulphur dioxide.

10

PORT PIRIE

BIGGEST SOURCE:

Lead smelter - one of the biggest in the world

PROBLEM:

More than 3000 children have been lead poisoned in the last decade.

11

PORT AUGUSTA

BIGGEST SOURCE:

Coal mine and power station

PROBLEM:

Power stations are the most polluting in Australia. Lung cancer rates twice the expected number. Highest rate of childhood asthma in the State.

12

WHYALLA

BIGGEST SOURCE:

Iron pelletising plant

PROBLEM:

Lung cancer rates are 50 times higher in Whyalla than similar towns.

To download an infographic showing these air pollution hotspots, click here

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