More than 100 community groups are rallying in Newcastle this Saturday against plans for a fourth coal loader (T4) in Newcastle port.
The rally will call on the NSW Government to reject T4 because of the unacceptable risks T4 poses for community and environmental health. Organisers are expecting more than 1,000 people to attend.
“There are compelling reasons for the State government to reject this proposal,” said Coal Terminal Action Group spokesperson Ms Annika Dean.
“T4 would mean an extra 107 coal trains travelling through Newcastle and Maitland each day, which would significantly increase coal dust and noise pollution,” Ms Dean said.
“In addition to its health impacts, T4 would also cause loss of fertile farmland to new coal mines in the Hunter Valley and loss of critical habitat for migratory birds and the Green and Golden Bell Frog,” said Ms Dean.
The rally follows the release last week of the Coal Dust in our Suburbs report, which showed houses in Newcastle and the Lower Hunter are exposed to particle pollution levels well above the national standard and high enough to cause asthma, respiratory and cardiovascular impairment, hospital admissions and premature death.
NSW Health has expressed concern that T4 will cause particle pollution levels that would regularly exceed the national standard and has recommended action to improve air quality in Newcastle.
“There is already a significant health burden from air pollution in Newcastle,” said epidemiologist Dr Ben Ewald. “The NSW Government has a responsibility to protect community health in residential areas close to coal trains, stockpiles and terminals. It would be ill-advised to approve a significant additional source of particle pollution.”