Residents of Taree, Coffs Harbour, Grafton and Lismore – Ballina will have access to hourly air quality updates following the installation of temporary air quality incident monitors in response to the ongoing bushfires burning in their areas.
NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Director of Climate and Atmospheric Matthew Riley said that smoke from bushfires across NSW is significantly contributing to poor air quality in areas across NSW, and these additional monitors will provide up-to-date real time info for the people on the North Coast.
“These areas normally have some of the best air quality in the world,” Mr Riley said.
“Unfortunately, the severe bushfires in these regions and the unprecedented fire season we are dealing with has resulted in ongoing air quality issues from the smoke and dust.
“These temporary monitors will ensure people and health services in those areas can get the information they need to make important decisions on providing health care advice for the community or for individuals implementing their own health plans.
“The NSW Government operates the most comprehensive accredited air quality monitoring network in Australia, now with approximately 90 stations across the state, and we have been working to broaden the network into more regional areas in consultation with local councils.
“The expanded Rural Air Quality Monitoring network together with the ongoing incident monitoring in Port Macquarie and the new station in Armidale have provided important information on the air quality impacts of these bushfires.
“NSW Government scientists will now be able to use the information gathered by these emergency monitors to build a more complete assessment of air quality across NSW during this emergency.
NSW Government scientists are also working with the NSW Rural Fire Service to understand wildfire conditions and the likelihood of smoke persisting, and the Bureau of Meteorology who give a broader outlook on winds and weather conditions that exacerbate air quality in NSW.
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said that he was pleased this information is available for communities living in the north of the state.
“Information provided by the incident monitoring stations mean people and their health care providers can better understand when to take steps that minimise the impacts of smoke from these unprecedented fires,” Mr Marshall said.
“The NSW Government’s air quality monitoring network ensures that the community of NSW has accurate and up-to-date information about air quality that government agencies and others can use to provide high-quality, reliable information for the public on health, land management and regulation. Information about air quality in NSW, including subscription to email and SMS alerts is available at www.environment.nsw.gov.au and health advice in relation to air quality is available at www.health.nsw.gov.au.