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Air

Trees providing clean air shade the Duck RiverKEEPING THE AIR CLEAR 

In urban areas, a key contributor to air pollution are human-related activities like driving cars. Worldwide scientific opinion indicates that the world’s climate is changing due to human activity. Ten of the past 12 years have been warmer than any previous year on record. CSIRO modelling indicates that by 2050 there could be:
  • 50% more summer days over 35 degrees celsius
  • frequent extreme weather events including storms, droughts and bushfires
  • sea level rises of between 10 and 40cm
  • a higher prevalence of insect and waterborne diseases, like malaria and dengue fever
  • shift in climate and agricultural zones towards the poles, bringing about changes in agricultural productivity
  • loss of mangrove and saltmarsh habitats
  • many native species (plants and animals) facing extinction.

Greenhouse Gases

Greenhouse gases (water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) are a natural part of the earth’s atmosphere.
 
Since the industrial revolution the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased significantly, mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels and land clearing. The increased level of greenhouse gas emissions trap more heat in the atmosphere causing global warming and climate change – this is known as the enhanced greenhouse effect.  

Air emissions from industry and commerical activities

Air emissions from industry and commercial activities are another source of pollutants. The cumulative impact of these premises on air quality is not known, however, the tendency for many of these premises to locate in the one area can certainly lead to noticeable local impacts.  

Air pollution from households

The primary sources of air pollution from households include emissions from solid fuel heaters, barbecues, lawn mowers and the use of chemicals. Up to 40% of the winter air pollution in the Sydney metropolitan area is caused by residential wood burning – the use of fireplaces and wood heaters. Wood heaters are the cause of the brown haze often seen over residential neighbourhoods on clear, cold nights.

How can you help keep air clean?

Catch public transport. A full bus carries about the same number of commuters as around 40 cars. If everyone caught the train or bus to work just once a week air pollution could be reduced by up to 20%.

Share a ride. Car pooling with friends and colleagues can significantly reduce air pollution. It can also save you money on petrol, toll fees and parking. Ride sharing can also allow you to use the transit lanes which can save you time getting to work.

Reduce short trips. Short trips cause more pollution because your engine needs time to warm up to run efficiently. Next time you need to make a short trip try walking or riding a bike. Combining errands into a longer journey also cuts down on emissions, saves time, wear and tear on your vehicle.

Keep your car well tuned. Badly tuned cars emit a lot of pollution, irrespective of their age. Servicing your car regularly can keep harmful gases out of the air we breathe. It also ensures your car runs properly so you’ll use less petrol and save money too.

Tune your lawn mower. Non petrol lawn mowers are environmentally friendly. However, if you own a 2-stroke or 4-stroke lawn mower ensure that it is serviced regularly to minimise emissions.

Choose a gas BBQ. Natural gas and LPG barbecues burn cleaner than wood fired and coal barbecues.

Plant trees. Plant more native trees and plants in your garden to help absorb and filter air pollutants.

No backyard burning.Backyard burning is prohibited under environmental laws because it pollutes the air, causing nuisance to neighbours. You can report backyard burning to Council.

Air Pollution Concerns

If you have any concerns regarding air pollution, contact Council’s Environment and Health Unit on (02)9735 1222. Alternatively you may go to the Public Health website for additional information.