Working towards a National Clean Air Agreement
Australia’s environment ministers are working to establish a National Clean Air Agreement.
Air pollution contributes to the premature death of over 3,000 Australians each year. The serious health consequences from exposure to different sources of air pollution are now well established. There is international consensus that there is no ‘safe’ level of exposure for many pollutants, and that there are harmful effects from exposure at levels well below the current air quality standards.
The coal mining industry, Australia’s main source of particle pollution, has admitted their emissions grew by up to 187% during the last decade.
In many Australian communities, air pollution levels frequently exceed the current national standards without meaningful consequences for polluters. In other communities, in adequate monitoring means that we don’t know nearly enough about exposure to harmful levels of air pollution. Without better pollution monitoring and enforcement and stricter licensing of polluters many communities will continue to be put at risk.
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has accepted that current air quality laws are deficient, and in 2011 committed to developing and adopting a National Clean Air Agreement. Australia’s environment ministers have invited comments on a Discussion Paper until 17 April. NCC’s submission guide (link) suggests eight ways to control air pollution.
Useful resources on air pollution
Media monitoring about air pollution in Australia.
Draft Varied National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure 2014
Draft Variation to the National Environment protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure Impact Statement
National Air Pollution Summit August 2014, including summit by doctors, lawyers, health professionals and civil society groups.