The issue

Almost 5000 Australians die from exposure to air pollution each year. Thousands of others suffer health effects like stroke, heart disease and asthma.

Australia’s current air pollution standards are not strong enough to protect human health. National air pollution limits currently exceed the World Health Organisation’s recommended thresholds and by international comparison, lag significantly. Much stricter standards have been adopted in most other countries, including the US, EU, and China.

Coal-fired power stations are a big contributor to air pollution in Australia and the biggest sources of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) in the country.

We know that at least 279 people die prematurely each year in NSW as a result of toxic air pollution from the state’s five coal-fired power stations. The health impacts also include 233 babies born with reduced birthweight, 361 people developing type 2 diabetes and 2,614 years of life lost each year due to uncontrolled air pollution from NSW power stations. The research has not yet been done – but the national number is likely to be extremely concerning.

Communities are also at risk from coal ash – the toxic by-product of coal-fired power, that is dumped into huge wastewater ponds that can leach and contaminate local land and waterways.

Our laws fail to address problems in pollution hotspots – like the Latrobe Valley, the Hunter Valley and the NSW Central Coast – where coal mines and coal-fired power stations, often exceed the limits for pollution.

Australia needs stronger laws and regulations on pollution from coal-fired power to protect our health.

Here at EJA, we aim to make sure polluters reduce and control their toxic pollution as much as possible. We work with community groups, experts and advocates to achieve laws and regulation that reduce pollution levels and safeguard clean air, water and land.

An update on the NSW coal ash inquiry

October 30, 2020

Health costs of coal-burning power

September 30, 2020

$2.4 billion health bill: Call for a crack down on coal pollution

August 31, 2020

Resources

In the media

Air PollutionMedia releases
September 7, 2020

‘Inconsistent, unreliable and of limited utility’: Australia’s air pollution data condemned by experts, ignored by regulators

NEWS RELEASE Double standards, legal loopholes and ‘unexplained’ errors in Australia’s air pollution data are preventing communities from accessing reliable information about the poor quality air they’re breathing. Analysis by…
Air PollutionMedia releases
September 1, 2020

Environmental lawyers warn Bayswater coal ash dump expansion cannot proceed until coal ash inquiry is complete, as hearings begin

MEDIA RELEASE Environmental lawyers are calling for the NSW Environment Minister to pause the assessment process for the coal ash dump expansion at AGL’s Bayswater power station until the outcomes of the coal ash inquiry are known, as hearings begin today.  Recommendations from the NSW Parliament’s Inquiry into…
Air PollutionMedia releases
August 31, 2020

Australians pay a deadly $2.4 billion health bill for coal-fired power

NEWS RELEASE  Coal-fired power stations’ failure to install life-saving pollution controls costs Australians around $2.4 billion in health costs annually, warn actuaries, economists and lawyers.   In a new report released today, a team of volunteer actuaries modelled the economic cost of the health…
Air PollutionMedia releases
July 29, 2020

NSW Government curtails community access to air pollution data as it deems Upper Hunter Valley a ‘non-region’ 

MEDIA RELEASE Upper Hunter communities have been forced to pursue legal advice as the New South Wales government curtails residents’ attempts to investigate and regulate the region’s air pollution levels.  …