Information on local air quality is now available to the Lithgow and Blue Mountains communities with a new temporary air quality monitoring station installed at Katoomba.
NSW Environment Protection Authority regional director metropolitan Giselle Howard said the communities had been seeking more information on air quality in their local areas, and she predicted this project would provide a valuable picture of air quality over a 12 month period.
"The temporary Katoomba air quality monitoring station, which will be operated by the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) for 12 months, will measure fine particles PM10 and PM2.5, sulfur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, ozone and meteorological parameters," Ms Howard said.
"In addition, 12 KOALA air quality sensors, operated by the Queensland University of Technology, are located in Katoomba, Springwood, Wentworth Falls (Boddington Hill) and Lithgow to provide indicative information on ambient air quality that will complement data from the Katoomba air quality monitoring station."
Peter Lammiman from the Blue Mountains Union and Community group welcomed the establishment of the Lithgow and Blue Mountains Air Watch community initiative.
"Air Watch lays the foundation for our communities to have near real time information about local air quality. We look forward to working alongside community participants, the Environment Protection Authority and air quality experts in this exciting venture," Mr Lammiman said.
Environmental Justice Australia representatives said communities had the right to know what they were breathing.
"The new air pollution monitoring station in Katoomba fills a gap in the state's otherwise excellent monitoring network, informing residents about pollution levels and compliance with national air pollution standards."
The representatives were worried that while the monitoring station would inform the community about overall pollution levels, it would not be specifically be monitoring emissions from Mt Piper power station.
"EJA advocate at least two Lithgow monitoring stations, to provide an accurate and detailed picture about air pollution sources and concentrations," they said.
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