The issue

In NSW, there are five coal-fired power stations – Liddell, Eraring, Mt Piper, Bayswater and Vales Point. Two are located on the Central Coast of NSW, two in the Upper Hunter Valley and one in Lithgow.

Power stations emit 30 toxic pollutants and are the single biggest source of dangerous sulfur dioxide (SO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and fine particle pollution (PM2.5) in Australia.

Exposure to these toxic pollutants cause premature death, heart attacks, stroke, asthma attacks, low birth weight babies, lung cancer and type 2 diabetes.

The report

We commissioned a new report, The Health Burden of fine particle pollution from electricity generation in NSWby leading epidemiologist, Dr Ben Ewald to investigate the serious health damage NSW’s five coal-fired power stations are causing.

The findings are far worse than expected.

Air pollution from coal-fired power stations in NSW is hurting communities from Newcastle, Lithgow, Central Coast and the Hunter Valley all the way to Sydney.

Each year, the five coal-fired power stations in NSW cause:

• 279 premature deaths;

• 233 low birthweight babies (less than 2500g); and

• 361 new cases of type 2 diabetes.

The community that bears the greatest health burden is Sydney as weather conditions push much of the pollution into the Sydney basin. In Sydney, each year, pollution from coal-fired power stations causes 153 premature deaths – more than half of the state’s total.

If the NSW government doesn’t act now, thousands more people will die from exposure to toxic coal pollution before the state’s five power stations close. And thousands more will suffer from heart attacks, stroke, asthma attacks, low birth weight, lung cancer and type 2 diabetes.

The solution

The health burden of coal-fired power stations on our communities is shocking  and entirely preventable. The companies that own these power stations have the technology to reduce toxic pollutants from coal-fired power stations by more than 85% – they just don’t bother to install it and the government doesn’t make them.

The NSW EPA just finished reviewing licences for three of the five coal-fired power stations in NSW. Thousands of people, along with health and legal experts called on the NSW Government to use the opportunity to make these companies clean up their act. But the EPA refused to listen.

With a state election ahead, it’s critical that both major parties commit to cut air pollution and protect the people of New South Wales’ health.

NSW Opposition Leader Michael Daley just announced a huge commitment to cut air pollution. Now the race is on!

Will you send a message to Premier Berejiklian and call on her to match the ALP’s commitment and let the NSW community know she is serious about protecting them from the health impacts of toxic coal pollution?

Read EJA’s submission to the NSW EPA here.

Nearly 300 people die prematurely each year in NSW from breathing in pollution from coal-fired power stations. It’s shocking and entirely preventable. Join us to tell the NSW Government to protect our communities and make these big polluters clean up their act?

Posted by Environmental Justice Australia on Tuesday, 20 November 2018