“This is why we want controls on air pollution”: Tackling air pollution on World Environment Day

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This World Environment Day, the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association’s (NSWNMA) Janet Roden writes about the need for stricter air pollution controls to protect the environment and health of our communities.

The NSWNMA believes that its members and NSW communities should have good quality air to breathe.  This is why we want controls on air pollution applied to coal-fired power stations by the NSW EPA.

Currently this is not the case – our power stations deliver excessive amounts of pollution well above that of the World Health Organisation guidelines for best practice adopted by other countries.  The polluted air can travel from the Upper Hunter and Central Coast power plants 200 kilometres in every direction, meaning that the Sydney Basin is also at risk from this dangerous air pollution.

This power plant air pollution has been identified with serious negative health outcomes.  Toxic pollutants released are sulphuric dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and fine particulate pollution. And this is very concerning when particles of pollution are drawn deep into the lungs and move into the bloodstream contributing to stroke and heart disease.

In NSW every year, its estimated to cause 279 premature deaths; 361 people will develop diabetes 2; and 233 babies will have birth weights of under 2.5 kgs according to the recent Australian population research undertaken by Dr Ben Ewald, confirming other International research about air pollution from coal-fired power stations.

Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) had a special day on 20th May successfully lobbying NSW politicians about coal-fired power station air pollution and from May 24 through to August 7 2019, there will be a National Air Standards review.  The EJA are calling on all State MPs to set best practice International guidelines for emission control.

Members can send their brief submission responses by filling in EJA’s template (see their website for updates) and politicians will make their final decision in November 2019.

Let’s ensure that we at NSWNMA can send as many small submissions as we possibly can, putting pressure on politicians to apply appropriate safe standards to our coal-fired power stations.

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