Report author wants more done on coal air pollution

MACKAY has been named among the 'hot spots' for air pollution in Australia.

A report based on National Pollutant Inventory data claims air pollution is responsible for more deaths than traffic accidents.

In the Bowen Basin, the report claimed, two open-cut mines near Moranbah were among the worst polluting coal mines in Australia.

>> Residents concerned about coal dust exposure

Around Mackay, increased coal loading contributed to a 136% increase in particle pollution emissions in the past five years, and an increase of more than 4000% in fine particle emissions, it said.

The health and environment group that released the report said there had been a massive increase in airborne dust pollution from the nation's coal industry.

"The data shows Mackay, Gladstone, south east Queensland and central Queensland are 'hot-spots' of high air pollution in Australia," Environmental Justice Australia advocacy and research director Nicola Rivers said.

"However, we know that the ripple effect from coal pollution is felt across the nation, increasing costs to both our health and the economy," she said.

>> Dust at danger level in Mackay

People living in central Queensland were more likely to experience health effects of increased air pollution, the report said; 14 of the country's 20 most polluting coal mines were in central Queensland.

The Environmental Justice Australia report said air pollution contributed to the premature death of more than 3000 Australians every year. "More Australians die from air pollution than from car crashes, but too little is being done to control major polluters such as coal mines and coal-fired power stations," Ms Rivers said.

The report said particle pollution known as PM10 from coal mines increased by 107% in the past five years. Ms Rivers said the pollution data should be a wake-up call for governments to enact stricter air pollution controls.

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