AGL’s Bayswater Power Station, in the NSW Hunter Valley, has exceeded air pollution limits more than 50 times in two months and is among three power stations in the state which failed to comply with air and water pollution limits this year.
Persistent violations of air pollution limits expose the Hunter Valley community and environment to greater risk from the dangers of toxic air pollution. Australian air pollution limits on power station emissions already far exceed comparable global standards.
Bayswater Power Station reported 54 breaches throughout June and July of this year due to exceeding its nitrogen oxides (NOx) emission limits.
Vales Point Power Station reported four breaches of water pollution limits in the last reporting period and Liddell Power Station also breached its licence four times for exceeding legal fine particle air pollution levels.
Pollutants from coal-fired power stations – one of the state’s biggest causes of air pollution – have several negative health effects, including causing asthma in children.
The community’s most vulnerable are generally the hardest hit by the toxins including the elderly, people with chronic diseases, children, pregnant women and their unborn babies.
Australia’s clean air regulations already lag behind many other countries including China and the United States, and are well below recently updated guidelines from the World Health Organisation.
These breaches are particularly concerning for Hunter residents who continue to fight to improve air quality in their region.
Environmental Justice Australia Principal Lawyer Nick Witherow said:
“It is concerning that three of the state’s five power stations have failed to comply with their licence requirements,” he said.
“The Upper Hunter community already live with poor air quality and have the right to expect that Bayswater Power Station will take all necessary steps to minimise the risk of harm to the people and the environment. At a bare minimum, this must include compliance with their licence.”
Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO David Ritter said:
“AGL, Australia’s most polluting company, has once again been found to be putting profit ahead of human health, with its Bayswater coal burning power station breaching air pollution limits 54 times in just two months.”
“AGL is hurting the people of the Hunter, who deserve better than to breathe dangerously toxic air as a result of AGL’s failure to limit its air pollution.”
Healthy Futures coordinator Dr Harry Jennens said:
“AGL’s latest breaches of their pollution limit is staggering, not just because their limit is already weak, but because this exposes more children with asthma to harm in the Hunter region which is already polluted and has higher rates of asthma.”
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