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 President John Cook said the group had contacted local MPs, medical organisations, Toowoomba Regional Council, the Queensland Premier and the Prime Minister about the need for monitoring.
A monitor was eventually installed in March at a site in Jondaryan on the Darling Downs. Mr Cook said the high readings for particulate matter (PM 10) and total suspended particles (TSP) at Jondaryanvindicated their unrelenting opposition to the New Hope Coal company and its practices.
Elevated readings were well above the Australian Standard of 80ug/m3 for TSP and 50 ug/m3 for PM 10. The most prevalent sources of air pollution at Jondaryan are from coal dust and diesel use, such as from the trains and bulldozers operating. In December last year a study by CAQ showed peak pollution as high as 6000ug/m3 Jondaryan2.
â€œIt was crystal clear to us that governments have been more concerned about the revenue from mining than they are about health implications to communities close to mines or transport corridors,â€ Mr Cook said.
New Hope Coal is currently seeking approval by the Queensland Government for a Stage 3 expansion of the Acland mine that residents say will compound all the current impacts including blast tremors, noise and coal dust pollution.
Spokesperson for CAQ, Michael Kane, said New Hopeâ€™s coal mining and handling methods were far from â€˜best practiceâ€™. “The results prove coal stockpiles and train wagons should be covered and coal dumps should be located many kilometres from homes,â€ he said.
â€œVeneering is just a hairspray for coal and it is not working. We have shown coal dust levels are extreme. This disregard of communities on the Darling 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.â€
Qld Lock the Gate
OCAA-John Cook 0428 911 643
Clean Air Queensland – Michael Kane 0438 766 230