Sydney air quality study

Improving our understanding of past, current and future air quality in Greater Sydney, and of the impacts of air pollution on public health and the environment.

What is the Sydney Air Quality Study?

This multi-year study was started in 2016 by OEH and the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), in collaboration with the NSW Ministry of Health, to improve our understanding of air quality and the impacts of air pollution in the Greater Sydney region.

The study will provide valuable information to government, business and communities on past, current and future air quality and its impacts on public health and the environment in the Greater Sydney region.

The study will support evidence-based air policies and programs by identifying persistent and emerging issues, and highlighting opportunities to improve air quality and realise public health and economic benefits.

What are the aims of the study?

The study will expand the information available to government, business and communities. The study aims to:

  • Improve our understanding of air quality and the impacts of air pollution on human health and the environment in the Greater Sydney region
  • Quantify the contribution of major sources such as motor vehicles, industry and residential wood heating to air pollution and its impacts on health, the environment and the economy.
  • Evaluate air quality improvements and related health, environmental and economic benefits that can be achieved by implementing clean air actions.

How will the study be conducted?

The study integrates and expands the evidence base to address gaps in our understanding of air quality and its impacts in the Greater Sydney region.

The study draws on data and information from the Sydney Air Quality Monitoring Network, the NSW Greater Metropolitan Regional Air Emissions Inventory, and from research studies such as the Sydney Particle Study and the Sydney Particle Characterisation Study.

A regional airshed model has been established to assess how air quality and population exposures vary across Greater Sydney and to quantify major source contributions to air pollution and exposure. Major sources being modelled include residential wood heaters, motor vehicles, industry, power stations and non-road diesel mobile sources (industrial vehicles and equipment, shipping, locomotives and aircraft).

This model will also be used to project future changes in air quality and related impacts, and to support the quantification of public health and environmental benefits associated with clean air actions.

When will the first study findings be available?

The first study report will be available in early 2019. This report will discuss how air quality has changed in Greater Sydney over the past two decades and how it is likely to change in future. The report will include findings on the contribution of major sources to air pollution and population exposure in the region.

A second study report will present new findings on the health cost of air pollution, and on the contribution of major sources to air pollution related public health impacts and costs.