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Pollution Report For The Latrobe Valley Misleading

Air quality in the Latrobe Valley meets National Air Quality Standards

By Brooke Lord - 14th February 2002 - Back to News

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Air quality in the Latobe Valley meets national standards almost all of the time, said EPA Chairman, Brian Robinson, today in response to misleading claims about pollution in a weekend newspaper. Claims in the article were based on data from the National Pollutant Inventory (NPI).

"It is extremely disappointing that a major newspaper has chosen to alarm the community over pollution issues rather than give people factual information about air quality in their neighbourhoods," said Dr Robinson.

"For example, claims in the article that Anglesea has alarming levels of toxic fumes is not something that the people of Anglesea can relate to."

"I hope that the misuse of information on the NPI does not serve to undermine its credibility to the community as an information source," said Dr Robinson.

The NPI is an information tool prepared by all State, Territory and Federal Governments that allows Australians to access, over the Internet, clear information about what pollutants are being discharged into their atmosphere. The NPI reports on emissions from all sources including vehicles, domestic and major industry.

Data from all States and Territories for the last financial year went on-line last Wednesday, 31 January 2002. Figures on the NPI are quoted in annual tonnes of emissions per year and do not directly relate to the quality of air that we breathe.

"Melbourne's air quality is generally very good and has improved significantly over the last 20 years," said Dr Robinson.

"Information about the quality of the air we breathe in Victoria is continuously monitored in relation to national standards and is updated hourly on EPA's website."

It is not surprising that figures on the NPI for the Latrobe Valley are higher than some other regions, given that this is the home of 80 per cent of Victoria's brown coal power stations.

However, air quality monitoring data, available to both the media and the community on EPA's website, shows that air quality in the Latrobe Valley meets National Air Quality Standards the vast majority of the time, with the major exception last year being due to fires on King Island.

All of the major industries referred to in the article have Environment Improvement Plans in place that were developed with EPA and the local community and which set out timelines and milestones for reductions of emissions.

Media inquiries: Brooke Lord (03) 9695 2704 or 0411 116 07


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