Coarse and microscopic particle emissions from electricity generation in the Latrobe Valley have increased in the past five years, according to analysis of the National Air Pollution data.
Environmental Justice Australia said PM10 emissions – particulate matter of 10 micrometres or less in diameter – rose 49 per cent, while fine particles PM2.5 – less than 2.5 micrometres or less in diameter – increased by 22 per cent.
It follows the State Government commitment to establish permanent air quality monitoring sites in the region as part of a $51.2 million package to implement the recommendations of the re-opened Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry.
Voices for the Valley president Wendy Farmer said community members expected power stations to do everything they could to reduce air pollution and to know they were implementing best practice.
“We look forward to learning more about air pollution in the Valley as a result of the expanding EPA monitoring network that was announced on Friday,” Ms Farmer said.
EJA director of litigation Felicity Millner said the government’s commitment to implement the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry recommendation to develop a better air pollution monitoring network was welcome, but monitoring was not enough to drive a reduction in pollution.
“We need stricter standards and effective enforcement,” Ms Millner said.
“Unless the Victorian EPA and Victorian laws require meaningful pollution reduction, we need a national Air Pollution Control Act and an effective regulator.”