All the proof he needs is the black oily and dusty residue that coats the roof of his Enright Street house, its fence and outdoor furniture. ‘‘You would not believe the pollution that we breathe in when those westerly winds start up. The only way you can get it off is with hot soapy water,’’ Mr Radimey said.
‘‘The bloke next door was trying to paint the other day but he gave up.’’
A lot has changed in Beresfield since Mr Radimey moved there 40 years ago.
Two major transport arteries–the main northern rail line and the New England Highway–now ring-fence the suburb.
As a result millions of tonnes of particulate pollution, much of it carcinogenic, rains down on the suburb each year.‘‘A lot of my friends have died of cancer and my wife has a dry cough that won’t go away,’’ Mr Radimey said.
‘‘They talk about needing to cover the coal wagons, that’s true, but they also need to look at the pollution that comes out of those diesel engines.’’Fine particle pollution at Beresfield has equalled or exceeded the National Environment Protection Measure’s annual average for three of the past six months.
Doctors for the Environment has urged the federal government to do more to protect communities such as Beresfield in its submission to the review of the National Environment Protection Measure for ambient air quality.It has urged the government to regulate air quality as rigorously as it does road safety.
Its submission says 3000 Australians die from causes attributed to air pollution, more than double the annual road toll. Many more suffer chronic illnesses, such as asthma.
NSW Health statistics show fine particle pollution can be attributed to 25 deaths in Newcastle each year.