Living close to Australia's biggest power station
The bush blocks in Eraring are large and there are plenty of birds and marsupials in the trees and the understorey. Charmian Eckersley has lived here since 1993. ‘It’s so beautiful, it’s not heavily populated, the lake’s nearby and there are lots of trees. Because of the space and the bush, you are drawn to an area like this.’
Since 1989 Eraring has also been home to Australia’s largest coal-fired power station.
‘In the last four or five years I’ve noticed more fallout of particulate matter on the back veranda,’ Charmian says. ‘Maybe I notice it more now that I’m retired and spend more time at home. I wouldn’t put out clothes without wiping the grime off the clotheshorse first.
Charmian only recently researched the mix of toxic materials that come out of coal-fired power station chimneys. ‘I was blown away when I found out about all the stuff that is coming out of the power station stacks.
‘I consciously shut doors and windows quite a lot, thinking to keep out the particles. My partner has got asthma. Now that I’ve been thinking about it a bit, it’s probably not the best place for him to be living,’ she says.
She’s not aware of the power station operator communicating with the community about air quality. ‘I haven’t heard a thing. I know people from the power station because they give me animals – I do wildlife caring – and if they’ve got something in distress there, they’ll always bring it. The people up there are fine. But communications on air quality? It’s a black hole really.
‘I think people should know before they purchase in this area.
‘I believe there’s a huge role here for the EPA. People should be able to know, for instance, today is a really bad day for air pollution, today you should shut your windows, go somewhere else for the day, it’s not a good day to be outside doing the gardening. Best to be inside.
‘It’s basic, it’s fair, it’s really what our government needs to do for its people is look after their health.'