Study shows over the past five years industry doubled its emissions of a type of fine particle called PM10, linked to asthma and bronchitis
Environment and health groups have called for a rapid crackdown on air pollution after a new analysis showed that emissions of a key pollutant linked to respiratory illness have doubled over the past five years.
A study of the federal government’s annual national pollutant inventory, which was released this week, showed that 435,000 tonnes of a type of fine particle called PM10, named because it is just 10 micrometres in diameter, was emitted by coal companies in 2012-13.
This level of pollution represents a doubling in PM10 emissions in the past five years, according to Environmental Justice Australia, which compiled the comparative figures. The inventory covers dozens of pollutants emitted by more than 4,300 heavy industry facilities across Australia.
The 10 highest emitting mines increased their PM10 output by between 48% and 1,030% over the past five years, with hotspots including the Latrobe Valley in Victoria, where PM10 levels increased by 27% over five years, and the Hunter Valley in New South Wales.
The increase in PM10, which Environmental Justice Australia puts down to an increase in mining activity, was accompanied by increases in lead, arsenic and fluoride emissions over the past five years.