OAKEY COAL ACTION ALLIANCE INC and CLEAN AIR QUEENSLAND
NEW HOPE IN BREACH OF REGULATIONS. COAL DUMP MUST CLOSE
August 21th 2014
It is official; air pollution at Jondaryan is regularly exceeding national and International health standards. This includes total suspended particles (fine suspended dust or TSP) and small particulates (PM10). Both these measures prove serious ongoing pollution arising from the huge New Hope Coal stockpile next to the railway line, at levels known to be injurious to health.
A complaint has been lodged with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, the Premier and the Health Minister by the Oakey Coal Action Alliance, on behalf of those residents of Jondaryan who are suffering ongoing health symptoms due to the proximity of the coal dump to their homes.
The President of OCAA, explains: ‘The Government is well aware of more than a decade of complaints about this controversial coal dump. After relentless pressure they finally agreed to install and conduct a real time air monitoring study for 12months. This new monitor is located close to homes and reads hourly wind direction and particulate pollution (unlike New Hope’s own recording which they measure twice a year in favourable wind conditions, or monthly with cruder funnel type monitors). This sophisticated and accurate real-time monitor has been operational since March this year and every month since we are seeing pollution levels in great excess to Australian Health Standards. On most days of each month Jondaryan air quality is worse than any other place in Queensland. This includes Gladstone, Moranbah and Mt Isa.’
Clean Air Queensland convenor, Mr Michael Kane agrees; ‘This Government must act on this chronic pollution problem. There is now irrefutable evidence that this facility is breaching the Environmental Authority set by DEHP as well as Health Standards that have to be met even by third world countries, let alone developed nations like Australia. There is no point in having these standards if community health is ignored. Our organisation is well aware of people in this town suffering respiratory symptoms, breathlessness, headaches and sleep deprivation. There are days when simple physical tasks are impossible. These homes are virtually worthless and people live in a coal fog on some days and nights, especially in easterly winds which blow over the stockpile.’
New Hope Coal and its parent company Washington Soul Pattison has been in the news regarding more than $700,000 donations to the State and Federal LNP. The OCAA says it is ironic that a leading pharmaceutical and health brand thinks nothing about creating dangerous public health problems on the Darling Downs.
‘They want to expand this mine, and the new coal dumps they keep promising away from Jondaryan are just as bad. One 200,000 tonne, 21metre high dump will be closer to families with children than this current monstrosity,’ OCAA spokesperson said.
Clean Air Queensland and Oakey Coal Action Alliance are united in saying: ‘It is time the Jondaryan coal dump was shut. Premier Newman and the LNP are on notice to put family’s health ahead of corporate donations.’
Figures; Jondaryan Air Quality (for August 2014 and monthly averages) from new Government monitor located near residences. Seven days of this month have shown excess levels of air pollution (above the red line)