I was just flicking through SMH when I came across this http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/hot-day-prompts-sydney-ai...

A bit of a concern, for anyone interested I found an air quality monitor page for Sydney.


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Think they may have over egged the warning. Readings mostly in the good range so far. Getting worse in SW sydney as is usual as all the crap from the areas to the NE gets blown that way by the sea breeze. Plenty of time for toxic brew to develop under the strong sunlight as it travels, but it is mostly fine particle pollution (PM10s) that is in the Fair category so far at Liverpool.

I don't think warnings about pollution are over stated. Pollution from cars kills more people than accidents. A small increase in pollution is dangerous.

During 2013 there were 1193 road deaths in Australia, but probably as many as 2000 deaths caused by pollution from cars. Cars also cause between 700 and 2050 asthma attacks and 4500 cases of cardio-vascular and respiratory diseases and bronchitis per year in Australia,"

A study published in the Lancet in December last year concluded that "Long-term exposure to fine particulate air pollution was associated with natural-cause mortality, even within concentration ranges well below the present European annual mean limit value". This study found that risk of death from pollution increases by 7% when PM2.5 pollution increases by 5 micrograms/cubic metre.

I think the little sticker on windows of cars for sale stating the fuel economy and CO2 emissions should also give these figures: how many km the car has to drive for the exhaust emissions to cause one death, one case of cardiovascular disease and one asthma attack.

I agree.

And they aren't measuring PM2.5

PM2.5 is measured - go to http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/aqms/aqitable.htm 

There may be some confusion because, as yet, there is no mandatory standard for fine particles (PM2.5) under national air quality standards. I understand, however, there is a reporting standard and PM2.5 is measured at numerous locations in NSW, as you can see at the link (3rd column from right).

Ooo-eeerrrr! That's an improvement.

Tho Chullora and Earlwood locations don't tell you about the PM2.5 level next to a major city road.

And the AQI number is a bit sketchy, being the percentage of a mysterious 'standard' level set back in 1998 before research told us that no level is safe. Colouring it green has no scientific basis for implying a safe level. "Good" is actually "harming you" :-(

Rather than little stickers, how about treating cars like cigarettes?

No doubt about that, Martin, but I was commenting on the actual public health warning for bad air quality that was issued. It didn't reach any more than 116 on their scale, out in the SW of the city. If any pollution at all was the criterion for issuing warnings there wouldn't be much point, and no one would ever go outdoors! Not sure why they got the forecast wrong, as it seemed pretty evident that the sea breeze would be fresh and keep most of the city below poor air quality ( as they define it anyway), but ozone did build up as the air traveled across the city to the SW, where poor old Camden /Picton area got the benefit of our pollution later in the day. Fresh country air, don't believe it. In winter it's reversed and eastern sydney gets the pollution from western sydney more often.

Ocean air is actually really polluted. Outside of the national boundaries, there are no emissions regulations, so ships burn "fuel oil." This stuff is refined just enough to burn and pump. Produces lots of particulates of all sizes (often visible,) NOx, SOx, and (based on what comes out of coal) probably trace amounts of mercury vapour and radioactive isotopes.

work being done on managing shipping pollution

Tho I did notice soot while manoeuvering from the ship I was travelling on, on Friday. After that I stayed tucked up inside: 100km/h gusts and a big sea state for about 10 hours. Probably a bit dirty until the diesels were warm and running at constant power while under way. I'd like to think so anyway.

Much of air pollution over the Pacific Ocean comes from manufacturing in China.

BTW the infamous Nisshin Maru does not comply with international conventions on the prevention of marine pollution as it was made to run on heavy fuel oil. Tho I'm not sure if they now burn ordinary diesel.

Since August 2011, it is prohibited to carry or use heavy fuel oil in Antarctic waters. It's about fuel spills as much as anything. dirty Japanese whaler

Perhaps the Australian Cyclists Party (in collaboration with the Greens?) could push for an effective method of bringing to the attention of the driving public how deadly motor vehicles are and highlight all the mechanisms whereby cars cause death, injury and ill-health. Lack of physical activity and global warming should also be on that list.

I like the idea of using published statistics to directly associate death, ill-health and environmental damage with every individual vehicle, preferably every trip of every vehicle.

Perhaps the warnings could be printed in big bold letters on every fuel receipt, so people are reminded regularly what the adverse effects of their driving habits are.

And car advertisements should be followed by a health warning similar to that for cigarettes before their advertising was banned.

Car advertising and all other methods of promotion of cars should then be phased out and cars sold in plain packaging. I.E. all cars should be a dull khaki green colour.

(Well, I can dream, can't I?)

Rather fluorescent yellow with reflective stripes so we can see them.


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