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Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

NSW coal power stations still emitting dangerous levels of air pollution

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New National Pollutant Inventory data shows that toxic air emissions from the state’s coal-fired power stations fell 15% in the year to June 2020, but they are still among the most polluting industrial facilities in NSW.

According to the industry’s own figures, during the 2020 financial year coal-fired power stations at Lithgow, on the Central Coast and in the Hunter Valley spewed out more than 268,000 tonnes of toxic air pollution, including:

  • 102,000 tonnes of nitrogen oxides
  • 153,000 tonnes of sulphur dioxide
  • 1,312 tonnes of coarse particles (PM10), and
  • 358 tonnes of fine particles (PM2.5)

Dirty coal

Hunter Valley coal mine. Photo Max Phillips.

Nature Conservation Council’s Chief Executive Chris Gambian said, ‘Coal-fired power stations are still among the most polluting industrial facilities in NSW.

‘All these pollutants have a huge impact on people’s health so these facilities must clean up their operations and shut as soon as possible.

‘The 15% reduction in emissions is very welcome, but these facilities are still a major source of dangerous airborne toxins, including oxides of nitrogen and sulphur and fine particles, which all cause serious respiratory and cardiovascular diseases,’ he said.

‘On the Central Coast alone, pollution from coal-fired power stations causes asthma in 650 children.

‘The total health impact of this industry on families is colossal, especially in the Hunter, on the Central Coast and across western Sydney where many of these emissions end up,’ said Mr Gambian.

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