Greens plan to cut Newcastle coal dust


Greens plan to cut Newcastle coal dust

Posted 9 hours 19 minutes ago
The Greens call for coal trains to be covered in the wake of the latest study on dust pollution in Newcastle. Photo: The Greens call for coal trains to be covered in the wake of the latest study on dust pollution in Newcastle.
Map: Newcastle 2300

The Greens say they are disturbed by the results of a new air pollution study in Newcastle and say it is more evidence the Government should bring a halt to the city’s fourth coal terminal.

Last night, Newcastle’s Coal Terminal Action Group released the findings of its air quality testing it commissioned in 11 suburbs over a one month period.

It found dust pollution in Tighes Hill and Carrington to be in excess of national air quality safety levels on at least five out of seven days.

Greens MP Cate Faehrmann says apart from suspending plans for the T4 project in the Port of Newcastle, the Government needs to start forcing the coal industry to clean up its act.

“We know that the dust is coming from the coal stockpiles, it’s coming from the coal trains, for goodness sake, cover them up,” she said.

“Then look at a plan that actually reduces the dust pollution in the area and brings Newcastle’s and other parts of the Hunter’s air quality under control.”

Ms Faehrmann says the results of the study will come as no surprise to people in Newcastle.

“Just yesterday I received a letter in my office from a woman who is trying to paint the inside of her house white, she lives near a coal line, and she said when she’s painting the walls before she can apply a new coat, the walls are covered in black dust.

The data was analysed by the University of Newcastle’s Associate Professor Howard Bridgman who says there needs to be a lot more research on where the dust is coming from and the potential health impacts.

“One of the things I believe that needs to happen is there needs to be more attention to dust chemistry that will tell you much more about the individual sources,” he said.

“A number of people have been calling for a full scale health study, not only here but in the Upper Hunter as well, and I join that chorus, I think it’s very important.

“While the NSW health people have information about hospital admissions in different categories on their website, we need more than that. We need things like, what happens when a person goes to a GP, in terms of a breathing problem, can we link that to dust and various other things like that.”

He says it is likely that the T4 coal loader, if it goes ahead, will add to the city’s air pollution problems.

“It is likely that the coal loader will have some effect on particles in the atmosphere, particularly again with the handling processes associated with the coal material.”

Topics: air-pollution, coal, mining-environmental-issues, mining-industry, newcastle-2300, tighes-hill-2297, carrington-2294

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