Congrats to PWCS and council

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A few posts ago I wrote a whiny email to the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group about how they need to consider growing a tree buffer zone in front of their growing coal piles on Kooragang Island.

The NCIG is made up of a group of five companies.

PWCS’s website describes them as the ‘largest and most efficient coal-exporting facility in the world’. They have a page about their community relationships which you can access here.

I have to congratulate them on responding to my concerns about how barren and dusty Kooragang is getting and how badly in need of landscaping and tree-planting the road along the coal loaders is.

When I was growing up Newcastle was a steel-making town and it had an undeserved reputation for having bad air pollution. It was always somewhat irritating because Sydney’s air was always worse than ours. Anyway, once BHP closed down, taking large numbers of jobs with them, this reputation faded.

Now, I swear, as I drive across the North Arm of the Hunter River, if it’s raining, that rain is dirty. That’s how much coal must be in the air. And I’ve only just noticed the streams of water being sprayed on the coal hills – maybe it usually happens during the day when I’m at work; maybe the dust monitoring system has just shown there’s a problem. The Environmental Defender’s Office has a fact sheet  (203KB) on Dust Monitoring that even tells you what equipment you need to do it yourself and where to take the samples to have them measured – even how much it costs.

Anyway, if anyone can tell me where the water goes after it’s coursed down through a hill of coal, I’d be grateful. I’m guessing it goes into the river, but what do I know; I’m just a treehugger. And after all that hard work to detoxify the river, to remove the remains of BHP’s near-century of operation.

Singleton, in the Hunter Valley, has had issues with dust from coal mines. Newcastle has three air monitoring sites: Wallsend, inner city Newcastle and Beresfield. None in Mayfield East or the coal loaders’ doorstep. Here’s a story about problems the community have with the air monitoring network. Tighes Hill in Newcastle is a stone’s throw from coal stockpiles: you’ve gotta love this:

 NSW Minerals Council spokesman said Australian air-quality monitoring studies “have not found the potential for impacts on human health or amenity from dust emissions from coal either inside or outside of the rail corridor”.

I’m so reassured.

And on a happy note, I’m grateful to one of our councillors for the news that a row of what look like Moreton Bay figs has recently been planted in Carrington. Wonderful. That’s far-sighted. Home

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