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Save 700 lives a year by cleaning up air and woodsmoke pollution

Modern wood heaters are so polluting that in the mining town of Muswellbrook, where open-cut mines supply coal to power stations generating enough electricity for 3.25 million homes, chemical fingerprinting showed a few hundred wood heaters are the major source of PM2.5 pollution (62% in winter, 30% year round).  Woodsmoke pollution was also identified as a major source of wintertime pollution in Liverpool, Sydney. An evening's wood heating emits as many toxic chemicals as in the smoke from a quarter of a million cigarettes.

NSW Chief Medical Officer Kerry Chant said wood heaters are so detrimental to health she supports banning and phasing them out in built-up urban areas. There are major flaws in the current standard-setting process because changes cannot be made without the approval of the wood heating industry. 

We therefore urge the 15 Dec 2015 Australian Environment Ministers' Meeting to: 
1) reject the current flawed "standards" set by the wood heating industry
2) set up a committee of health and epidemiological experts to find the best possible solution to the current $20 billion health costs of wood heater pollution.
3) endorse a National Clean Air Agreement, with appropriate support and leadership, to implement $3.6 billion savings from other pollution measures* that together with the $20 billion savings from cleaning up woodsmoke pollution would allow Australia to implement a 6 ug/m3 PM2.5 standard and avoid 700 premature deaths per year
4) investigate other cost-effective ways to reduce pollution and health costs, many of which will also reduce global warming from lower methane and black carbon emissions.

Sign the petition or send individual emails to all environment ministers

* Other-pollution reduction measures with savings of $3.6 billion identified by the National Environment Protection Committee were: adopting US standards for non-road diesels, international best practice for controlling PM emissions from mines, US2010 emissions standards for outboards and watercraft, and US phase 2 gardening emissions standards.

 

This petition was delivered to:
  • Australian Environment Ministers Meeting, 15 Dec 2015


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