National Pollutant Inventory data shows dangerous increase in air pollution

New analysis of the latest annual National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) data, and mapping of trends in the preceding five years, shows big hikes in air pollution from the nation’s coal mines, coal fired power-stations and coal terminals

  • Coal mining is Australia’s leading source of particle pollution. Coal companies reported 435,000 tonnes of PM10 in the latest 2013-14 NPI report, 47% of the national total. This represents a doubling in PM10 emissions in just five years.
  • Emissions of toxic pollutants from coal mines including PM10, lead, arsenic and fluoride increased by 100-200% during the last decade.
  • Particle pollution (PM10) emissions from the nation’s ten most polluting mines increased by between 48% and 1030% during the last five years.
  • Australia’s 20 most polluting coal mines are located in the Bowen Basin (QLD) and the Hunter Valley (NSW).
  • Victoria’s Latrobe Valley is home to Australia’s four highest emitting coal-fired power stations. PM10 emissions from electricity generation increased in the Valley by 28% during the last five years and PM2.5 (dangerous fine particle) emissions increased by 27%.
  • Newcastle’s three massive coal terminals are that city’s top source of PM10 and have seen a 70% increase in emissions over five years.
  • Air pollution contributes to the premature death of over 3,000 Australians every year alone, with coal a major contributor.

RESOURCES

National Pollutant Inventory Data: Backgrounder

Media release: Health and environment groups call for national Air Pollution Prevention Act to reverse dangerous increases in air pollution

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