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Coal power stations still emitting dangerous levels of air pollution

New National Pollutant Inventory data show toxic air emissions from the state’s coal-fired power stations fell 15% in the year to June 2020, but they are still among the most polluting industrial facilities in NSW. [1] 

During the 2020 financial year, coal-fired power stations at Lithgow, on the Central Coast and in the Hunter Valley spewed out more than 268,000 tonnes of toxic air pollution including: 

  • 102,000 tonnes of nitrogen oxides; 
  • 153,000 tonnes of sulphur dioxide; 
  • 1,312 tonnes of coarse particles (PM10); and   
  • 358 tonnes of fine particles (PM2.5). 

Coal-fired power stations are still among the most polluting industrial facilities in NSW,” Nature  
Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said. 

“All these pollutants have a huge impact on people’s health so these facilities must clean up their operations and shut as soon as possible. 

“The 15% reduction in emissions is very welcome, these facilities are still major source of dangerous airborne toxins, including oxides of nitrogen and sulphur and fine particleswhich all cause serious respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. 

On the Central Coast alone, pollution from coal-fired power stations causes asthma in 650 children. 

“The total health impact of this industry on families is colossal, especially in the Hunter, on the Central Coast and across western Sydney where many of these emissions end up. 

NSW Power Station Emissions, 2019-20 (tonnes) 

 

NOx     

SOx     

Particles 10um     

Particles 2.5um     

Total    

Bayswater     

28,421     

35,795     

377    

82    

64,675    

Liddell     

24,348     

37,243     

410    

108    

62,109    

Eraring     

20,077     

39,000     

330    

103    

59,510    

Vales     

18,000     

20,000     

86    

31    

38,117    

Mt Piper     

11,033     

20,900     

109    

34    

32,076    

TOTAL     

101,879     

152,938     

1,312    

358     

256,488    

Climate pollution from NSW coal power stations fell by 4.1 million tonnes of COin the reporting period, equivalent to replacing 1.3 million petrol cars with electric vehicles, about a third of the NSW passenger vehicle fleet.  

References 

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