Coal Mine Dust – more action required
Hunter air quality monitors in action
ALL 14 stations promised for the Upper Hunter air quality monitoring network have been installed and are providing real-time data, the state government says.
The network was first announced in 2009 under the Labor government in response to mounting community concern about the health effects of dust from mining operations, and has been gradually rolled out.
The monitoring stations are now in place at Aberdeen, Bulga, Camberwell, Maison Dieu, Merriwa, Mount Thorley, Muswellbrook, Muswellbrook north-west, Singleton, Singleton south, Singleton north-west, Warkworth, Jerrys Plains and Wybong.
Only three sites, at Singleton, Camberwell and Muswellbrook, also monitor finer dust particles, known as PM2.5, that are considered potentially more harmful, as well as the larger PM10 dust measured at all sites.
Environment Minister Robyn Parker said two recently added monitors, at Singleton and Muswellbrook, were examining nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide gases.
Macquarie Generation and Redbank Project, which are required to monitor gases under their environment protection licences, funded the new monitors, with the data made public.
The Office of Environment and Heritage and the Environment Protection Authority provides SMS and email alerts to residents when air quality is poor.
The government has promised to establish an air-quality monitoring network around Newcastle and Stockton.