Community-led study of dust and health impacts to tackle T4 and coal dust concerns

An alliance of 14 community and environmental groups from throughout the Hunter Region today launched a community-led study of dust and health. The Coal Terminal Action Group (CTAG) has established the study to address growing concerns about coal dust and its health impacts.

“The Newcastle community have expressed concerns about air quality for decades, most recently in response to the T4 proposal,” said Coal Terminal Action Group spokesperson Zoe Rogers. “We’ve waited long enough and have now decided to address these concerns ourselves.”

The community-led study will address critical questions that were not answered in the 1,400 page Environmental Assessment Report prepared for T4:

  1. What level of fine particle pollution are residents along the Hunter rail corridor and in suburbs close to Newcastle’s coal loading terminals currently exposed to?
  2. What are the health impacts of current levels of fine particle pollution?
  3. To what extent does coal from train wagons, coal piles and handling contribute to this particle pollution?
  4. How will fine particle pollution levels change when twice as much coal is transported from the Hunter?

The study will analyse air quality monitoring data collected by local and state government and by industry, commission additional monitoring of ultrafine particles (PM1), develop recommendations for improved monitoring and reporting arrangements and assess the health impacts of current pollution levels and the proposed T4. Australian and international authorities accept that there is a direct link between long-term exposure to particle pollution and a range of respiratory ailments. These ailments include hospital admissions and emergency department attendance, respiratory disease, asthma, heart disease, congestive heart failure and even mortality.

The Community Steering Group for the study will hold its first meeting on Thursday 2nd August at Hunter Community Environment Centre.

“Our initial investigations show that air quality has exceeded national guidelines (levels of concern) in Stockton and Muswellbrook several times already this year,” said Ms Rogers. “Before approving a project that would double a major source of this pollution, the NSW Government and the community must be sure it won’t add to community health problems.”

“People living along the coal corridor from the Upper Hunter through Newcastle suburbs are sick of living with unhealthy levels of dust and particle pollution,” said Ms Rogers.

The fourth coal-loading terminal would double the volume of coal transported through Newcastle, resulting in 80 more coal trains movements each day, 15 new large open cut mines and an additional 120 million tones of coal loaded and exported from Newcastle Harbour.

The Newcastle community have expressed concerns about air quality for decades, most recently in response to the T4 proposal,” said Coal Terminal Action Group spokesperson Zoe Rogers. “We’ve waited long enough and have now decided to address these concerns ourselves.”

 

The community-led study will address critical questions that were not answered in the 1,400 page Environmental Assessment Report prepared for T4:

 

  1. What level of fine particle pollution are residents along the Hunter rail corridor and in suburbs close to Newcastle’s coal loading terminals currently exposed to?

  2. What are the health impacts of current levels of fine particle pollution?

  3. To what extent does coal from train wagons, coal piles and handling contribute to this particle pollution?

  4. How will fine particle pollution levels change when twice as much coal is transported from the Hunter?

 

The study will analyse air quality monitoring data collected by local and state government and by industry, commission additional monitoring of ultrafine particles (PM1), develop recommendations for improved monitoring and reporting arrangements and assess the health impacts of current pollution levels and the proposed T4. Australian and international authorities accept that there is a direct link between long-term exposure to particle pollution and a range of respiratory ailments. These ailments include hospital admissions and emergency department attendance, respiratory disease, asthma, heart disease, congestive heart failure and even mortality.

 

The Community Steering Group for the study will hold its first meeting on Thursday 2nd August at Hunter Community Environment Centre.

 

Our initial investigations show that air quality has exceeded national guidelines (levels of concern) in Stockton and Muswellbrook several times already this year,” said Ms Rogers. “Before approving a project that would double a major source of this pollution, the NSW Government and the community must be sure it won’t add to community health problems.”

 

People living along the coal corridor from the Upper Hunter through Newcastle suburbs are sick of living with unhealthy levels of dust and particle pollution,” said Ms Rogers.

 

The fourth coal-loading terminal would double the volume of coal transported through Newcastle, resulting in 80 more coal trains movements each day, 15 new large open cut mines and an additional 120 million tones of coal loaded and exported from Newcastle Harbour.

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