Stop the Sydney Smokestack horror
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Multiple unfiltered smokestacks are to be located across Sydney, next to schools and homes as part of WestConnex and the planned Second Harbour Tunnel crossing.
The EPA itself acknowledges the problem in its Clean Air for NSW Consultation Paper: “As there is no safe threshold for exposure to fine particles, continued reductions in exposure can reduce adverse symptoms, need for medication, visits to doctors and emergency departments, hospital admissions and premature deaths across cities and communities.”
Studies continue to emerge highlighting the deleterious impact of air pollution on our health including the findings published in The Lancet earlier this year which found there was a 7 per cent higher risk of developing dementia among those living within 50 metres of a main road, a 4 per cent higher risk at 50-100 metres, a 2 per cent higher risk at 101-200 metres, and no increase in risk among those living more than 200 metres away. NSW is a signatory to the national standards and goals for criteria air pollutants set out by the National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure: The pollutants of most concern under the Air NEPM are airborne particles 10 microns or less in diameter…and most significantly, the subgroup of finer particles..which are less than 2.5 microns in diameter. According to the EPA, each year air pollution leads to • 520 premature deaths and 6300 cumulative years of life lost in Sydney (Morgan et al. 2013) • 1180 hospital admissions in Sydney (Broome et al. 2015), and • an estimated $6.4 billion (2015 AUD) in health costs in the NSW Greater Metropolitan Region (Dec 2005).
The Rozelle/Inner West community already has the most polluted air in Sydney with the Health Department’s safe limits exceeded on several occasions – these levels will dramatically escalate if construction of WestConnex Stage 3 and the Western Harbour Tunnel Crossing proceed.
Given the content and quantum of dangerous emissions and the reliance on the emission points being sufficiently high for dispersal, this Government's intended use of unfiltered exhaust stacks has dangerous health ramifications not just for those communities which will be directly impacted by WestConnex and the Second Harbour Tunnel but for wider Sydney as a whole.
We as a community deserve better. We call on the Premier to act now to stop this madness.
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