Melbourne suburbs’ air quality report shows “widespread” pollution issue

Melbourne suburbs’ air quality report shows “widespread” pollution issue

A report released by a Melbourne air quality monitoring organisation has shown a “widespread and alarming problem” in the city’s inner western suburbs, particularly throughout Maribyrnong, Brimbank and Hobsons Bay council areas.

The report indicates that the increasing number of heavy vehicles moving through residential areas in the suburbs is posing a problem for local residents, who are particularly concerned about the ongoing poor air quality conditions.

The increase in vehicles is likely due to the establishment of the new opening for the West Gate Tunnel, while the aging trucks, often equipped with sub-par filtration systems means they are likely contributing more to air pollution than newer makes.

“The opening of the West Gate Tunnel will result in increased traffic along the tunnel’s feeder roads, and truck traffic associated with the expansion of the Port of Melbourne is forecast to grow from about 11,000 trips each weekday in 2016 to 34,000 in 2050,” the report said.

Two suburbs, in particular, are of concern, with Yarraville and Brooklyn marked as the seventh and eighth worse ‘hot spots’ for air pollution concentration in the country, and could likely lead to an increase in risks to residents’ health.

“It leads to around 4880 premature deaths in Australia each year. This is more than four times the number of lives lost on Australia’s roads in 2019,” the report said of air pollution.

“Poor air quality damages respiratory and cardiovascular systems and is associated with diabetes, cognitive decline and dementia, inflammatory bowel disease, brain tumours and mental health problems.

“Pollutants such as diesel exhaust emissions are known to be carcinogenic; science is also showing that adverse health effects can occur at lower levels of concentration than previously thought and even short-term exposure can aggravate existing heart and lung conditions.”

Local council hopeful, Peter Wingate, said a real-time air quality monitor was needed so people could measure the risks before leaving home.

“We desperately need air quality monitoring. They have little monitors all over the place in the Latrobe Valley and it’s linked directly online so people in the area can go online and check what the air quality is.”

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