New report finds air emissions in Wollongong decreasing
Media release: 19 October 2012
A new report released by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) today shows emissions in the Wollongong region are steadily decreasing with oxides of nitrogen (NOx) down by 5 %, particulate matter < 10 μm (PM10) down by 11% and volatile organic compounds (VOC) down by 19% - despite an increase in population for the region.
EPA Chair and CEO, Barry Buffier, said the NSW Air Emissions Inventory took over two years to compile and looked at over 850 air pollutants in NSW’s greater metropolitan regions of Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong.
“The NSW Air Emissions Inventory is the most comprehensive study of air emissions in Australia and an important tool for measuring harmful pollutants, gaining a better understanding of air pollution problems and pinpointing who the emitters are, “ Mr Buffier said.
“NSW is the only state in Australia to conduct such a comprehensive air emissions study and today’s report is only the third time it had been completed.
“What this latest report shows is that between 2003 and 2008 the six most common air pollutants in Wollongong, carbon monoxide (CO), NOx, PM10, PM2.5, sulfur dioxide (SO2) and VOC all decreased.
Mr Buffier said in comparison the NSW Air Inventory report found that man made air emissions in Sydney were steadily declining despite marked increases in gross state product (up by 68%), vehicles kilometres travelled (up 26%) and population (up 18%), whilst emissions in the Hunter showed a marked increase in emissions from industrial sources - particular dust from coal mines.
“It is important to remember that air quality in the overall greater metropolitan region is significantly cleaner than it was 30 years ago thanks to gains in environmental regulation.
“What this latest report will do is help to support the development of new programs targeting new and emerging air quality issues in NSW, such as mining and other relatively unregulated emission sources,” Mr Buffier said.
To view the NSW Air Inventory visit – www.environment.nsw.gov.au/air/airinventory.htm
Air Emissions Inventory – Background
The air emissions inventory is a detailed listing of pollutants discharged into the atmosphere by each source type during a given time period and at a specific location.
The inventory includes emissions from biogenic (i.e. natural living organisms), geogenic (i.e. natural non-living) and anthropogenic (i.e. man-made) sources as follows:
natural (e.g. bushfires, wind-borne dust, marine aerosols and vegetation)
approx 5,500 commercial businesses (e.g. spray painters, printers, quarries, service stations etc that are not licensed by the EPA under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997)
- domestic activities (e.g. residential lawn mowing, portable fuel containers and woodheaters)
- over 1,100 industrial premises (e.g. EPA licensed coal mines, oil refineries and power stations)
- off-road vehicles and equipment (e.g. dump trucks, bulldozers and marine vessels)
- on-road transport (e.g. registered buses, cars and trucks).
It then takes three engineers using state-of-the-art scientific methods more than two years to thoroughly analyse the data and estimate emissions, taking into account pollution control technologies, fuel quality, variations in production patterns and differences in weather across the region.
All emission sources are then located using Geographical Information Systems and all emissions data are contained within a sophisticated custom built database, which is used to produce a detailed picture of emissions in the GMR.
The study area covers 57,330 km2, which includes the greater Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong regions, known collectively as the Greater Metropolitan Region (GMR). About 75% of the NSW population resides in the GMR.
The last air emissions inventory for NSW was completed in 2007 and although that information has served us well until now, emissions have changed, making it necessary for a new inventory.
The major task of developing the new inventory started in 2009 and took over 2 years to complete.
The results are now available and are being used to shape the way we improve air quality in NSW.
Contact: Liza Cassidy
Page last updated: 19 October 2012