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Calls for action on dust

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June 1, 2018 by admin

DUST from Singleton area coalmine sites repeatedly breaching national health standards has triggered two separate calls for action.
Nanjing Night Net

Singleton Council general manager Lindy Hyam was jolted by “extreme” conditions last Friday.

She immediately wrote to state Environment Protection Authority (EPA) chiefs requesting a whole of government approach to improve the shire’s air quality.

Mrs Hyam wants representatives of the EPA and departments of health; planning and infrastructure; energy and resources to develop “a cohesive approach to an “obvious and significs issue”.

And the community group, the Hunter Valley Protection Alliance was spurred by last week’s dust to launch a “Save the Hunter Valley” campaign yesterday.

Alliance spokesman Graeme Gibson said: “We have an ineffectual environment department which has reported four health alerts in the Hunter in the last eight days based on air pollution exceeding national standards, but does nothing about it.

“The health of residents is already at serious risk, many now can’t drink the rainwater from their tanks without substantial filtering, but even more alarmingly, the future of the Hunter as a wine growing, food producing and tourist region is now at risk of being lost forever.

The Argus regularly reports health alerts from the state government’s air monitoring network, including one today.

Argus reports on August 17, 21 and 24 revealed that air in various parts of Singleton shire failed national daily average health standards 21 times over ten days from August 10.

The areas involved were Mount Thorley, Singleton north west, Singleton, Maison Dieu and Camberwell.

The health warnings relate to dust particles, known as PM10s,which can damage people’s respiratory tracts.

Environmental groups have previously told The Argus that government monitoring did not accurately indicate peak dust levels as the data was averaged over 24 hour periods.

Government representatives have said there were numerous contributing factors behind dust pollution, including strong wind, domestic wood heaters, bushfires and rural burnoffs.

And it was impossible to pinpoint one particular source, or one particular coalmine, by dust detected through the monitoring system, representatives said.

Mrs Hyam said: “I was out at Broke on Friday, it was like being in a dust storm, it was extreme and I could actually taste the dust on my tongue.

“It’s a lot better today (Monday), but we suffer from strong winds in August and September and I know some mines shut down for their own people, so the same consideration could be given to the general public.

“Compliance is important, but I’d like to see if we have adequate provisions in planning consents or whether they need revisiting or whether there are other ways of dealing with this issue.”

Mr Gibson said he was concerned about cumulative impacts and the fact that mining expansion was progressing even though current impacts were not adequately being addressed.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


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