Monday, November 25, 2019

Air Quality deteriorates in the Inner West

The Bushfires in NSW have seen the tragic loss of human life, stock and wildlife.
Hundreds of homes and other property has been destroyed.


US Air Quality Index in the Inner West -10.55am on Thursday 21 November 2019  deutschland.maps.luftdaten.info


Today, emergency air quality monitoring is being undertaken in Port Macqaurie, Grafton, Coffs Harbour and Taree with warnings to other areas. in Northern NSW due to the bushfires.

The above map shows that air quality in the Inner West was poor. This was attributed to bush fire smoke. However, there are a large number of diesel trucks travelling to and from the Westconnex sites at Haberfield, Rozelle and Annandale. It was quite likely there were cruise and concrete ships at White Bay and Circular Quay. There are also a large number of diesel buses.

Bushfire smoke is a mixture of different-sized particles, water vapour and gases, including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides. https://www.qld.gov.au/health/staying-healthy/environmental/after-a-disaster/bushfires/bushfire-smoke-and-your-health 

SMH November 19, 2019: "Paramedics have treated more than 50 people for asthma and breathing-related incidents since 6am as health authorities are warning residents of serious health risks resulting from thick bushfire smoke on Tuesday." https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/sydney-blanketed-in-dense-bushfire-smoke-amid-severe-fire-danger-20191119-p53bt2.html


"Diesel vehicles produce up to 80 per cent of 'total suspended particulates' emissions from motor vehicles in Sydney, even though they account for only 15 per cent of vehicle kilometres travelled."  - https://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/about/environment/air/vehicle-emissions/diesel-emissions.html

 "Around 12% of all new heavy vehicles registered in NSW in the first quarter of 2016 were registered to government and a greater proportion of the NSW heavy vehicle fleet is either engaged on government projects or owned by private companies that want government work. Vehicles are a major source of air
pollution in major urban areas, with 62% of NO x , 24% of VOCs and 14% of fine particle pollution (PM 2.5 ) in Sydney coming from vehicles. NO x and VOCs are precursors to ozone formation and photochemical smog.
PM 2.5 contributes directly to PM concentrations and population exposure. NSW experiences exceedances of the national ambient ozone and particle standards in most years." CONSULTATION PAPER CLEANAIR FOR NSW, October 2016  https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/~/media/EPA/Corporate%20Site/resources/air/clean-air-nsw-160415.ashx
Air Quality in Sydney was bad last week - particularly on Tuesday and Thursday. Winds were expected to clear the air but despite blowing in did not. 

Sydney air quality for Sat 23 November 2019
is forecast to be POOR due to PARTICLES
HEALTH MESSAGE: Unhealthy for sensitive people, and could cause symptoms, especially in people with heart or lung disease. https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/aqms/aqiforecast.htm

Air Quality in October dropped below fair 5 times in the last 7 days of the month
https://airquality.environment.nsw.gov.au/aquisnetnswphp/getMap.php?subreportid=12926011&date=20191101000000
https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/aqms/aqimonthlygraph.htm

The Department of Health's Guidance on Air Quality

VERY GOOD
0-33
Enjoy activities
GOOD
34-66
Enjoy activities
FAIR
67-99
People unusually sensitive to air pollution:
Plan strenuous outdoor activities when air quality is better
POOR
100-149
AIR POLLUTION HEALTH ALERT
Sensitive Groups: Cut back or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities
VERY POOR
150-200
AIR POLLUTION HEALTH ALERT
Sensitive groups: Avoid strenuous outdoor activities
Everyone: Cut back or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities
HAZARDOUS
200+
AIR POLLUTION HEALTH ALERT
Sensitive groups: Avoid all outdoor physical activities
Everyone: Significantly cut back on outdoor physical activities

 https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/air/Pages/aqi.aspx (viewed 25 Nov 2019)

Did work stop at Westconnex sites?

Level of PM2.5 in the Inner West about 10.55am on Thursday 21 November 2019.
According to the Adapt NSW Website, the effects of climate change will include:

Trend in Greenhouse Gas Emissions across Sectors

Growth in Diesel Consumption



" This demonstration project has found that up to half of the total sulfate air pollution in the greater Sydney region can be attributed to emissions from NSW’s eight coal-fired power stations. Despite being located many kilometres outside of the greater Sydney metropolitan area, these coal-fired power stations have a significant impact on air quality in the CBD areas of Sydney." https://www.ansto.gov.au/news/revealing-sources-of-sydney%E2%80%99s-air-pollution

Trees trap pollutants as well as converting CO2.

"Trees also remove particulate matter from the atmosphere, particularly small particles which are a major health hazard in air pollution. Trees along urban roadways can reduce the presence of fine particulate matter in the atmosphere within a few hundred yards of the roadside verge. The total area of leaves is critical: a few trees with sparse leaves are less effective than a dense canopy. Trees with small or hairy leaves are best at removing particles." https://blog.nature.org/science/2017/04/06/trees-air-pollution-balance-ecosystem-services-ozone/

"The average reduction of particulate matter near a tree is between 7-24%, while the cooling effect is up to 2C (3.6F). There are already tens of millions of people getting those kinds of benefits," https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-37813709

Birch, the best-performing tree, removed 79 percent of these ultrafine particles from the air, while yew and elder each captured around 70 percent. Such trees could be planted at pollution hotspots to quickly improve air quality, the scientists suggest. https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/trees-tested-as-pollutant-traps-65940

Westconnex remove many trees (including casuarinas) from along City West Link and the Crescent and Victoria Road. This combined with the dust and diesel emissions from trucks arriving and leaving from the concrete port and the Rozelle Railyards as well as buses travelling along Victoria Road would have all contributed to the poor air quality that has shown up from the private monitors.

There are official monitors at White Bay Cruise Terminal, in Callan Park at Rozelle and Westconnex is also required to monitor air quality but there is little analysis publically available.

Westconnex Conditions

Should ambient monitoring of air pollutants exceed the following goals, the
provisions of Conditions E32, E33 and E34 will apply:
(a) CO – 8 hour rolling average of 9.0 ppm (NEPM);
(b) NO2 – One hour average of 0.12 ppm (245 μg/m3) (NEPM);
(c) PM10 – 24 hour average of 50 μg/m3 (NEPM);
(d) PM2.5 – 24 hour average of 25 μg/m3 (NEPM);
(e) PM10 – annual average of 25 μg/m3 (NEPM); and
(f) PM2.5 – annual average of 8 μg/m3 (NEPM).
Note: The notification and reporting obligations under conditions E32, E33 and
E34 relating to ambient monitoring will begin at the commencement of
operation of the CSSI. The first annual average concentrations for PM10 and
PM2.5 must be calculated on the first day the project has been in operation for
12 months and on a rolling basis thereafter.



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