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Monday, 16 July 2018

BCNA Submission on Air Quality

In May, the Victorian Government released an Air Quality Statement and invited feedback. This is one step in the Victorian Government’s preparations for the release of an Air Quality Policy in 2019.

The BCNA prepared a response drawing on local concerns about air quality at Station Pier. The pollutants at Station Pier are sulphur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter (PM), especially small particles (PM2.5 and smaller) as they are associated with asthma incidence and severity and other health problems, including cancer and premature mortality.

Monitoring by the Victorian Ports Corporation Melbourne (VPCM) in 2016/17 at Station Pier revealed elevated levels of sulphur dioxide and particulate matter than at nearby EPA monitoring stations at Brooklyn and Altona North. The readings for small particulate matter (PM2.5) exceeded the level specified in the State Environment Protection Policy (SEPP) (Ambient Air Quality).

The BCNA submission explains that the VPCM monitoring results should have been the trigger for the EPA to introduce an air quality program. The submission also includes discussion about the need to continue to review and revise national standards for air pollutants and that the EPA should have the capacity to proactively monitor potential problem areas. That is, it needs to proactively identify areas that are likely to have air quality issues and to monitor these areas in a timely manner to identify whether they do breach air quality standards rather than exposing the community to unmonitored long term poor air quality.

The full BCNA submission can be downloaded here.