Media release

Stricter air pollution standards needed in coal industry following four cases of “Black Lung”

December 03, 2015


Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) today called for stricter air pollution laws following revelations that there have been four cases of black lung in Queensland.

Black Lung occurs after a build of coal dust in the lungs as a result of weak air pollution laws.

Phil Hill, Clean Air Lawyer: “Black Lung” is a 19th century disease. These revelations show how weak and outdated Australia’s air pollution laws really are. How many Australians have to die from air pollution before politicians act?’

“This illustrates what’s wrong with air pollution laws – state laws have failed to protect these workers from air pollution.”

“These coal mines have apparently not been properly supervised by the Queensland government.”

“A failure to hold polluters to account is one symptom of a broken regulatory system.”

“Environment Ministers from all states and territories have a chance to set things right on 15 December.  They are coming together to agree on new standards and strike a new clean air agreement.”

“Together with health, environment and legal groups, EJA is calling for better laws – laws which include strict air pollution standards, consistent enforcement by a national regulator, and much better access to information and monitoring data.”

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