25th May 2014
Oakey Coal Action Alliance Inc, and Clean Air Queensland
Jondaryan Monitoring Confirms Health Fears.
Residents of Jondaryan now have on-line access to hourly pollution readings, after more than three years lobbying by the community groups Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA) and Clean Air Queensland (CAQ), their members and supporters.
OCAA spokesperson explains further: ‘We have contacted everyone ;from local MP’s, medical organisations, Toowoomba Regional Council, to Premiers and Prime Ministers. Finally in March this year a new Government monitor was installed at a site in Jondaryan of our choosing. It was crystal clear to us that Governments had been more concerned about the revenue from mining than they are about health implications to communities close to mines or transport corridors’.
The high readings for particulate matter (PM 10) and total suspended particles (TSP) at Jondaryan1 vindicate the unrelenting opposition to New Hope Coal and its practices. Elevated readings were well above the Australian Standard of 80ug/m3 for TSP and 50 ug/m3 for PM 10. Pollution can arise from sources such as road works and fires, but the most abundant sources are coal dust and diesel use, such as from the trains and bulldozers operating at Jondaryan. In December last year a study by CAQ showed peak pollution as high as 6000ug/m3 occurred at Jondaryan2.
New Hope Coal is currently seeking approval by the Queensland Government for a Stage 3 expansion of the Acland mine that residents’ state will compound all the current impacts, such as dust, blast tremors, noise and coal train pollution.
‘The coal mining and handling methods used by this mob are far from best practice, as these measurements show. Coal stockpiles and trains should be covered and coal dumps should be located many kilometres from residences’ says Michael Kane from CAQ. ’Veneering is just a hairspray for coal and it is not working. If the expansion gets a green light New Hope will most likely cry poor to the Government and say it is too expensive to build the promised spur line away from Jondaryan, due to low coal prices. We have shown coal dust levels are extreme. This disregard of communities on the Downs or along the rail corridor to the Port of Brisbane is especially outrageous at a time the medical profession is telling us with increased urgency about the serious health impacts of coal’
This week a new report ‘Cleaning the Air’ by Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) was released amidst calls for binding national air pollution laws3. The report confirms that air pollution in Australia is inadequately regulated, monitored and enforced, Federal leadership is lacking, the States are not enforcing existing laws and as a result more than 3,000 Australians are dying a premature death every year.
This report is timely and accurate as we think district has put up with enough. This company should be investigated properly, by an independent body not receiving donations from New Hope or their affiliates. There are vulnerable families with children and the elderly living near the stockpile and mine. They cannot move and we know a few who are unwell. We dread to think what pollution even more families will need to cope with if the Stage 3 expansion is given the green light and coal output increases again.’
For further details:
Jondaryan Air Pollution Measurements for Total Suspended Particles (TSP). Small particle pollution (PM 10) is often also elevated above Australian Recommended Standards. May results (top) and April (below).