You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘air pollution and health’ tag.

A good example of housing development along Gardeners Road Alexandria, built right to the footpath. Balconies and major living space face the street where possibly more than 60,000 vehicles pass by every day. It is the same along many other main roads, including in the Inner West Council municipality.  

Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog will know that I post fairly often about air pollution & the link to human health.  I’ve been pleased to read the recent research about this issue & enjoy having experts agree with what are fundamental beliefs of mine.  I once again got that feeling when I read the headline of a recent article in The Conversation titled, Transport access is good for new housing, but beware the pollution.’  See – http://bit.ly/2v0tOEl

The article says that it makes sense to build housing close to public transport, but building high-rise housing along busy roads exposes those people to traffic pollution to the detriment of their health.

The former Department of Planning has a 9-year-old interim guideline titled ‘Development near rail corridors & busy roads to help development limit harmful exposure to air pollution.  

Suggested design measures include:

  • building setbacks
  • articulation or “stepping” of building façades
  • avoiding creation of street canyons; and
  • mitigation measures such as greening close to the road.”

Locally high-rise buildings are built right to the footpath, instead of building away from the footpath & putting in a line of trees to make the air quality better for residents.  The stepping back of building facades is being suggested in planning documents for the Sydenham to Bankstown Corridor in a bid to lower the impact of an eight storey building being built next to single storey houses.

“The NSW document suggests:

The location of living areas, outdoor space and bedrooms … should be as far as practicable from the major source of air pollution.”   If you look, the majority of high-rise developments have balconies that face the street & are attached to living rooms, so this suggestion is obviously not working.

The interim guideline also says, “… it is preferable if residential uses are not carried out along a busy road unless it is part of a development which includes adequate noise and air quality mitigation.  So we know that the government at all levels & developers know that the way they are developing Sydney & other major Australian cities is not good for us & will have serious negative health impacts.

Road widening from 4 lanes to 7 lanes along Euston Road in Alexandria as part of exit management from the WestConnex Motorway resulted in the removal of two rows of quite big trees. These trees did much to improve air quality for these residents & also the public who walked along this road.  Now the residents will need to adjust from the “up to less than 6,000 [vehicles] a day to more than 50,000 when WestConnex is built.”   See – http://bit.ly/2nijiSD

Just how these residents will adjust to living 1.4 metres away from more than 50,000 plus passing vehicles every day is anyone’s guess.

“…..the Sydney Motorway Corporation, RMS and contractors have canvassed the possibility of installing noise insulation, sealing wall vents and installing airconditioning units in apartments that will jut up against the seven-lane road.”  So, use your balcony at your own risk then?  Even prisoners in gaol get access to fresh air from their cells.

The Conversation article summed the issue up in a nutshell – “We are in a situation where councils can refuse approval for a well-designed, aesthetically pleasing carport in front of a building line, while people’s health is put at risk due to new housing developments along main roads being prioritised.  ….The Parramatta Road Corridor is one example of the current approach.”

Nitrogen dioxide pollution “include increases in all-cause, cardiovascular and respiratory mortality and hospital admissions for respiratory and cardiovascular disease, decreased lung function in children, and an increased risk of respiratory symptoms such as asthma, stroke & lung cancer.  If left unchecked or unevaluated, planning decisions that put new homes along busy roads are likely to undermine public health protection principles.”

 

 

Screenshot of ‘Health impacts of air pollution – South East Coast Greater Melbourne 2016’ – see http://bit.ly/2tu86I0

First I noticed Sydney Council was reclaiming the road corners & creating verge gardens.  Now Inner West Council is also doing this & I think it is wonderful.

I have seen a few of these popping up around Stanmore, Dulwich Hill & Marrickville, though there may be others in suburbs that I have not seen.

Claiming back land to green it up will have many benefits for the community.  Plants & a street tree will obviously soften the landscape & add beauty.  As the tree grows it will create shade, which will lower the urban heat island effect.   If it is a native tree, it will provide food for urban wildlife, which should a priority in my mind.

Street trees trap particulate matter on their leaves, thereby improving air quality & lowering air pollution levels.

The resulting impact of air pollution on the health of people is starting to gain considerable traction amongst the scientific community.  Air pollution has a tonne of negative impacts such as higher incidence of respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis & emphysema.  Lung capacity & lung function also decreases.

There is an increased risk of cancer, especially breast cancer, as well as heart disease in all ages, including more fatal heart attacks.  Stroke is another high risk.

Air pollution is a threat to child health with lower birth weight & the increased the risk of infection & developmental delays.  Alzheimer’s disease & other dementias are the latest significant health issues found to be linked to air pollution.  The authorities cannot dismiss air pollution considering the incredible amount of suffering & the costs associated with helping people affected by air pollution.

The photos below shows Clarendon Road Stanmore.  The corner has extensive work creating a verge garden & a large garden on what was once road.  A street tree has also been planted.  If this is the way of the future for many of our wide roads & expansive corners, it will transform the streetscapes of the former Marrickville municipality.

I think it is great that Council has started to use these spaces to add green & trees.  They will not impact on driver sight, as clearly demonstrated in neighbouring suburbs that have many more street trees then we do.  Another added benefit is that corners given this treatment may slow drivers down.  They smaller distance pedestrians need to cover to cross the road should also improve safety.

It’s a win for wildlife & a win for the community.

Clarendon Road Stanmore has been transformed.  The opposite side has a small verge garden.

I am pleased to see Council using a variety of native plants. Once grown they could offer habitat for small insects and lizards.

BEFORE WestConnex removed two rows of mature trees on Euston Road.  Screenshot thanks to Channel 10 Eyewitness News.

Screenshot of WestConnex destruction on Euston Road. Thanks to Channel 10 Eyewitness News.

Dr Paul Torzillo – Head of Respiratory Medicine at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital spoke about the negative health impacts of WestConnex at the 21st May 2017 meeting of the Camperdown Residents Against WestConnex.

I took the following from the video.  However, I recommend watching the whole video (just over 10 minutes) because Dr Torzillo had a lot more to say about the health impacts of WestConnex.

  • “Traffic-related air pollution is a major contributor to air pollution. Projects like this around the world leads to more cars and more cars coming into cities, raising air pollution. 

 

  • There is a huge amount of evidence that air pollution leads to increases death from heart disease, increased hospital admissions, increased risk of stroke, increased respiratory disease & deaths from respiratory disease. It also leads to higher rates low birth weight in kids.   There is no question about this.

 

  • This project is not just an issue for those living in the corridor, this is a thing for Sydney.  The broader Sydney population is going to suffer these consequences.

 

  • Pollution levels will be higher 0.5km either side, at entry & exits & higher at stack points.

 

  • The big picture evidence is that traffic-related air pollution is a major contributor to air pollution in general.

 

  • Air pollution is unequivocally, absolutely shown to increase death rates & the frequency of major health problems in people.”

I have posted here about the impacts of air pollution from traffic quite a few times.  It is great to have a local respiratory medicine specialist to be confirming that traffic-related air pollution will cause major health issues for residents, including early death.

It is not just a road to help people get from A to B in a shorter time.  Pollution moves with the wind, so it will affect Greater Sydney.

If we allow government at all levels to keep pushing through roads & motorways & not spend money improving public transport, we will be living in a very polluted city & suffering the health consequences.  This air pollution will affect all ages from new-borns to the elderly.  No-one will be immune.

Street trees are becoming increasingly important for the community’s health, though you wouldn’t know it if you look at what the WestConnex Authority is doing.  Look at their most recent work in Euston Road Alexandria where they chopped down two rows of mature street trees to increase the road to seven lanes.  Traffic will rise from the current 6,000 vehicles a day to more than 60,000 per day & this is local roads well past the St Peters Interchange.  These people lost their front garden to a highway.  How healthy will it be living there?

You can watch the video here – https://www.facebook.com/friendsoferskineville/

To improve air quality we need our streets and particularly our busy roads to be as leafy as Oxford Street Darlinghurst.  I can see no reason other than disinterest as to why our streets cannot look like this.  In terms of room for trees, Oxford Street is comparable to many of our main streets.

The research on air pollution just keeps delivering.    Now it is breast cancer, one of the major cancers in Australia. 

Most of us would know of at least one woman who has or is a survivor of breast cancer.   Researchers from the University of Florida USA who studied almost 280,000 women found that –

  • “women with dense breasts were 19% more likely to have been exposed to higher concentrations of fine particle matter (PM2.5).
  • For every one unit increase in PM2.5, a woman’s chance of having dense breasts was increased by 4 per cent.” See – http://bit.ly/2nGgOMe

Women with dense breasts are 3-5 times more likely to develop breast cancer. Living in polluted areas increases dense breasts & cancer rates.

Cancer Australia says breast cancer is the second most commonly cancer diagnosed & the most common cancer diagnosed in women.

In 2017, it is estimated that 17,730 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in Australia (144 males and 17,586 females).”  They also say 28 men & 3,087 women will likely die from breast cancer this year.  To add something positive here – 90% of people with breast cancer survive at least 5-years post treatment.

This week SUVs & other diesel powered vehicles made the news because pollution from diesel fuel has been found to cause cancer & respiratory diseases.

In 2016 around 9 out of 10 utes & more than half the new SUVs sold in Australia were powered by diesel.  One third of all cars sold in Australia use diesel fuel.

You only need to look around the streets to see that SUVs are an extremely popular car in this area.  This is of concern because diesel creates more pollution than petrol using vehicles. See – http://bit.ly/2nGgOMe

World Health Organisation statistics state that 3-million people die annually die from air pollution related issues & more than 400,000 people die in Europe due to air pollution.   (http://bit.ly/2o03PqI)

In 2014 research from Environmental Justice Australia found that 3,000 Australians die prematurely from urban air pollution annually. You can download a pdf of their report here http://bit.ly/1M0RJoj

With statistics like these & knowing that traffic pollution within a 500-metre radius of a major thoroughfare has been found to

  • cause lung disease & impair lung function in both children & adults,
  • cause cardiovascular illness,
  • cause death   (http://bit.ly/1MKStR8)
  • increase risk of dementia ( http://bit.ly/2hZ961Q)
  • & now increased rates of breast cancer, you would think that getting rid of high pollution vehicles & planting more street trees would be a major priority.
A Galah - Nearly half of 200 Australian species are threatened by climate change.

A Galah – Nearly half of 200 Australian species are threatened by climate change.

Warning: This could be depressing reading for some. I have posted about this report as I believe climate change is an issue that we cannot afford to ignore, even if what the scientists & researchers predict is scary.

The US Global Change Research Program has released ‘The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A scientific Assessment,’ which looks at how climate change is affecting human health & the changes that may happen in the future. Reading through this document it is easy to see how the changes can be similar for Australia.

There is a lot of information in this document, so I have cherry-picked what I found particularly interesting. I recommend reading the whole document. See – https://health2016.globalchange.gov

“Climate change can …. affect human health in two main ways:
• by changing the severity or frequency of health problems that are already affected by climate or weather factors;
• by creating unprecedented or unanticipated health problems or health threats in places where they have not previously occurred.”

The researchers believe heat-related deaths will increase, especially in children, the elderly & economically disadvantaged groups.

“Days that are hotter than usual in the summer or colder than usual in the winter are both associated with increased illness and death. Mortality effects are observed even for small differences from seasonal average temperatures.”

The researchers expect “…an increase of thousands to tens of thousands of premature heat-related deaths”, however, tolerance to extreme heat is expected with the increased use of air conditioning.  So we will be stuck indoors & hoping the power stays on without a problem.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said that March 2016 was the hottest March on record & the 2nd March was Australia’s hottest day on record. Two records broken in the same month!

February 2016 was the hottest month globally & 2015 the hottest year since records started. Keeping with breaking records, today was the hottest April day in Sydney since records began with temperatures reaching 36.6C in Penrith & 34.2 in Sydney CBD. See – http://bit.ly/1N87KX6

Increases in outdoor air pollutants are expected (ground-level ozone, carbon dioxide & fine particulate matter). Just released research has shown that any type of particulate matter is bad for human health. See http://bit.ly/1pVLiuM

Indoor air quality is expected to deteriorate. “Poor air quality, whether outdoors or indoors, can negatively affect the human respiratory and cardiovascular systems.”

Wildfires are expected to increase, again negatively impacting air quality & “increasing the risk of premature death and adverse chronic and acute cardiovascular and respiratory health outcomes.” Bushfires are a major threat in Australia. Asthma & allergic illnesses are expected to increase.

Increases in extreme weather events are expected such as drought, flooding the frequency and/or intensity of drought, wildfires & hurricanes. We can expect similar in Australia.

“Climate change is expected to alter the geographic and seasonal distributions of existing vectors and vector-borne diseases.”   These are mosquitoes, ticks & viruses like Malaria & Dengue Fever. Some may be new, some may resurface & their impact will be up to the human population in how they control them, as well as how well they protect themselves.

Across most of the United States & I would assume the same for Australia, we can expect waterborne diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, protozoa, harmful algae, human-produced chemicals & through “ingestion, inhalation, or direct contact with contaminated drinking or recreational water and through consumption of contaminated fish and shellfish.”

“Increases in some extreme weather events and storm surges will increase the risk that infrastructure for drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater will fail due to either damage or exceedance of system capacity, especially in areas with aging infrastructure.” A couple of years ago I read that Marrickville municipality’s aging stormwater & sewerage infrastructure is at capacity & this is before the significant increase in population planned.

The recent report ‘Climate Change, Global Food Security, and the U.S. Food System’ found that “climate change is very likely to affect global, regional, and local food security by disrupting food availability, decreasing access to food, and making utilization more difficult.”  See – http://1.usa.gov/1OxfV3c  So we will be hot & hungry.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide reduces the concentrations of protein and essential minerals in most plant species affecting food staples such as wheat, rice & potatoes. Rising sea temperatures is expected to increase mercury levels in seafood.

“Mental health consequences of climate change range from minimal stress and distress symptoms to clinical disorders, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, and suicidality. Other consequences include effects on the everyday life, perceptions, and experiences of individuals and communities attempting to understand and respond appropriately to climate change and its implications.”

Think PSTD as a result of the Brisbane floods. “People whose households were directly impacted by flooding had a decrease in perceived overall health, along with increases in psychological distress, decreased sleep quality and probable PTSD. Residents were also more likely to increase usage of both tobacco and alcohol after flooding.” See – http://eprints.qut.edu.au/50883/

“… populations of concern, include those with low income, some communities of color, immigrant groups, Indigenous peoples, children and pregnant women, older adults, vulnerable occupational groups, persons with disabilities, and persons with preexisting or chronic medical conditions.” That’s a lot of the community.

As I interpret it, you have a better chance at managing & adapting to climate change if you are a young adult, have no health issues or disabilities, are not Indigenous or an immigrant, don’t work outdoors, have a secure & sufficient income & lastly, not pregnant.

In reality it is the big industries that cause the bulk of the carbon output. Research by Richard Heede titled ‘Tracing anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane emissions to fossil fuel and cement producers, 1854–2010’ found that “the climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age.”  See –  http://bit.ly/1gCaHA0
& http://bit.ly/1nuungL

This may be pretty shocking & somewhat overwhelming, but we as individuals can make changes to our lifestyle choices that have a significant impact, particularly if enough of us do it.

Australia’s level of consumption & ecological footprint needs 4.8 planet Earths. We are ahead of the United States of America who need just 3.9 planet Earths. See – http://bbc.in/1Sk4oE5   Today 6th April 2016 the resident population of Australia is projected to be 24,037,142, while the USA started 2016 with a population of 323,572,160 almost 13.5 times greater than Australia.

The bottom line is that human beings cannot keep on living as though we have infinite resources without getting an enormous payback from the planet & unfortunately that payback is at its minimum, lots of suffering for people, & at its worse, partial or full extinction & I am not including non-human species here. We have to wonder whether we are actually destroying that which keeps us alive.

To end on a positive note, I believe that we can stop runaway climate change, but we all need to work together & start now.

Screen shot of the video summary showing one view of the area in Tempe that would be affected by the motorway.  The violet line shows the route of the motorway

Called ‘WestConnex’ & starting at Parramatta, the M4 will be widened probably removing many of the trees planted for the 2000 Olympics. It then travels up a widened Parramatta Road with an under street level slot for the motorway with Parramatta Road still able to function. A small inset in the video link below shows a boulevard-look with lots of street trees beside high-rise residential development.  This will be a huge change for the suburbs along Parramatta Road.

The WestConnex Motorway travels up to Taverners Hill in Petersham & then underground with a 5km tunnel from Taverners Hill to St Peters, “returning local roads to the Inner West community.”  No stacks were mentioned, but they come with tunnels as far as I am aware.  The tunnel runs under the Princes Highway side of Sydney Park coming to the surface in the grounds of what I think is ‘Dial a Dump’ where coal seam gas mining was to happen & may still happen yet.

The motorway then travels beside the Alexandra Canal & through the container terminal at Tempe.  It then travels above/beside the Tempe Wetlands & within spitting distance of the houses below at East Tempe. From there the road travels through all the trees planted beside Tempe Reserve & along the eastern side of Tempe Reserve through the playground & picnic facilities & over the Cooks River to travel through the Kogarah Golf Course, finally meeting with the M5 that will also be widened.  The point at Tempe Reserve is the only point along the Cooks River until the river enters Botany Bay.

There appears to be an alternate route shown very briefly at 2.31secs on the video. This follows the Alexandra Canal avoiding the Tempe Wetlands, though it still travels through Tempe Reserve.

The video says that the project is the ‘highest priority’ for the NSW government with the route of the WestConnex still at concept stage.  The TV news tonight says it will probably be funded by multiple tolls.

Way back in 2007 there was a US study published in the Medical Journal The Lancet, “linking motorway pollution with permanent and life-limiting damage to children’s lungs. People who live within 500 metres of a motorway grow up with significantly reduced lung capacity, & even children who have never experienced asthma are at risk.”  – http://bit.ly/exrUEp  

I wrote about a 2010 study done by the US Health Effects Institute who reviewed 700 worldwide health-pollution studies. They found that traffic pollution within a 500-metre radius of a major thoroughfare was likely to exacerbate asthma in children, trigger new asthma cases across all ages, impair lung function in adults & could cause cardiovascular illness & death.  See – http://bit.ly/QpiYx6 

Last July 2012, the NSW Department of Health said that an 80% increase in lung cancer cases in residents living near the Turrella stack was unlikely to have been caused by air pollution from the tunnel stack because it takes longer for lung cancer to develop.  NSW Health said they could not find a reason for the massive cancer spike in Turrella residents saying, “it could be purely chance because rates do go up & down & it’s a smallish area & the (cancer) rates are quite volatile in smallish areas.”  Short video here – http://bit.ly/OgXqfP

However, a 2009 article said that researchers from Macquarie University & Queensland University of Technology found that regular users of Sydney’s M5 East tunnel were risking chronic health problems because of high levels of air pollution in the tunnel, which were 1,000 times higher than in the city. –  http://bit.ly/UaDbtc

So, if it is risky to your health to repeatedly drive in the tunnel, why isn’t the air pollution that comes out of the tunnel in a concentrated form risking the health of nearby residents?

Scientific research studies like the above make me wonder why governments continue to focus on building roads rather than putting the substantial money needed to build these into better public transport.  Many people think more Motorways are not the answer as they fill up & need to be bigger within a very short length of time.

Dreadful is what the Motorway will do to the wetlands, to the park above the wetlands, the considerable tree loss in Tempe & the ruination of Tempe Reserve & the Kogarah Golf Course & to the residents of Tempe & Marrickville.  Perhaps St Peters & Petersham residents will be affected too.  This Motorway may have a bigger impact than I can think of at this stage.

Marrickville LGA has the smallest amount of public green space in Australia, so if this Motorway goes ahead as planned, we will be losing more public green space in Tempe Reserve. This area of Tempe Reserve in particular is usually jam packed with people who use the great children’s playground, the barbeques & the picnic kiosks as well as the river for fishing.  Large groups of children use the basketball courts behind the Robyn Webster Sport Centre as well.  Tempe Reserve & the wetlands are a vital area for wildlife habitat in Marrickville LGA.  It is not the place for a major motorway if you care about the health & happiness of people & the environment.

Drivers will be ecstatic, so I expect that there will be anger at any community opposition to the Motorway.  However, I am pretty sure there will be significant community opposition in this municipality if the past is a realistic guide.

You can watch a video summary of WestConnex showing the proposed route at – http://bit.ly/Vf6UAK

The NSW government is seeking community feedback.  You can email them at – firstthingsfirst@insw.com or write at – Infrastructure NSW – 
PO Box R220 
Royal Exchange NSW 1225

Screenshot of the motorway route through Tempe Reserve

Screen shot showing the route through the point at Tempe Reserve, over the Cooks River & through Kogarah Golf Course.

This screenshot view shows how deep into Tempe Reserve the motorway goes.

 

 

Street trees along the City of Sydney Council end of King Street Newtown proving it can be done

We know that the particulate matter in air pollution comes from vehicles & coal power stations causes respiratory disease, including asthma in both children & adults as well as heart attack related death. Now 2 new research studies done by entirely different research groups in Germany & the USA have shown that particulate matter also increases the incidence of Type 2 Diabetes.

… the new data provide important & more rigorous evidence that real-world pollution may be tampering with blood sugar control in a large & growing number of people.

The researchers used proximity to roads — where vehicles would be a major pollution source — as a proxy for exposure to fine particulates. Women who developed diabetes were more likely to have lived nearest to heavily trafficked roads.

Compared to the 25% of women living farthest from busy roads, the relative risk of developing diabetes was 15% higher for the 25% of women living closest to major roadways.

There is a growing body of literature suggesting that people with diabetes may be more susceptible to the harmful effects of air pollution.

All the more reason why we need to start planting more street trees, especially on & around main roads. This issue is fast becoming one that will have serious impacts on our health system.  It makes sense to use nature to try to lessen the impact of our 21st Century lifestyle as money spent now may help mitigate the financial cost of disease in the future.

It’s well worth reading the full article – http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/63971/title/Air_pollution_appears_to_foster_diabetes

I wrote about this issue here – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/living-close-to-a-main-road-is-bad-for-your-health/ &

https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/trees-particulate-matter/

Marrickville Council section of Parramatta Road on right. Leichhardt Council on left

An article was published in Reuters Health this week about research done by Dr Robert A Silverman of the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York.  Dr Silverman studied the link between particulate matter (pollution from vehicles & coal-fire power plants) & 8,000 heart attacks in New York City between 2002 & 2006.

“As the levels of particulate matter air pollution increased, more cardiac arrests occurred.”

“When they looked at fine particulate matter (particles 2.5 micrometer or less in size), they found that the risk of having a deadly cardiac arrest rose by between 4 & 10% with every 10-microgram-per-cubic-meter increase in fine particulates.” The current EPA standard of 35 micrograms per cubic meter is grossly inadequate.

“Being indoors may offer only limited protection since small particles can penetrate into buildings and homes.”

As far as I can ascertain, there are only 3 things that stop particulate matter –

  • removing all vehicles from the roads,
  • closing down coal-fire power stations &
  • trees.

In 2003 there were 204 million vehicles on the road in the US.  This increased to 246 million vehicles on the road by January 2010.  In 2009, there were 50 million more vehicles on US roads than 6 years previously, though in 2010, it dropped to only 46 million more. In comparison, China is estimated to have in excess of 70 million vehicles on the road by the end of 2010 & expected to have over 200 million by 2020. Still they wont have caught up with the Jones’s.

Australian statistics were hard to get though I did find that 13.2 million vehicles, including motorcycles, were registered in Australia at 31 March 2003.  I would expect the numbers to be much higher for 2010.

Worldwide it is predicted there will be 1.2 billion vehicles on the road by 2015.

Only the cost of petrol or a severe shortage of oil is going to bring down vehicle use numbers.  You can see why most cities are trying to encourage public transport use, walking & cycling.

As for coal-fired power stations, Australia does not look like it is planning to reduce or stop them with up to 12 new coal-fired power stations planned across the country.  Unfortunately, in NSW they intend to mine for coal in the small bits of land that is Koala habitat.  If you are interested in this – https://www.savethekoala.com/ is a terrific resource & Deborah’s (Tabart) Diary gives regular updates about the Koala situation in Australia https://www.savethekoala.com/deborahtabartsdesk.html

Everyone loves this end of Crystal Street because of the large trees

Lastly, we come to trees. Trees remove up to 60% of street level particulate matter & dramatically improve air quality, which is why their presence is so important in high traffic areas.  The more trees in an area, the better the air quality. Trees also absorb other pollutants such as Ozone, Nitrogen Dioxide & Sulfur Dioxide through their leaves.

A street tree removes 9 times the amount of air-born pollution from passing traffic than does a tree on a nearby property.  Street trees also improve the air that enters people’s homes, especially important as particulate matter penetrates buildings even when the windows are closed.

Large trees provide the most benefit as they provide greater absorption of particulate matter.  Small stature trees that are the perhaps the most common sized tree across Marrickville LGA have far less ability to do this.

The issue of pollution from vehicles is becoming an issue that is too hard to ignore. I am of the opinion that many of our roads in Marrickville LGA are quite dangerous in this regard due to the large volumes of traffic every day. Even small suburban streets that are more like lanes can have in excess of 7,000 vehicles/day.

If the Marrickville Metro expansion goes ahead there will be a potential loss of 142 trees & an extra 4 million shoppers a year. You can just imagine the air pollution around the surrounding residential streets & the planned plaza.

Parramatta Road & the Princes Highway are mostly treeless in the section that is under the governance of Marrickville Council.  It’s not just a matter of beautifying areas that are seriously lacking in aesthetic beauty, it is a matter of public health.

Parramatta Road under the governance of City of Sydney Council

This problem is not going to go away.   I think the NSW state government should allocate money to Marrickville Council to plant trees on these main roads. This is a major project requiring funds that Marrickville Council cannot afford. For this reason it is imperative that the state government fund it as a special environmental project.   It will save the government much greater amounts of money in the long run as people living in Marrickville LGA may just end up in the health-care system.

The population of Marrickville LGA is going to expand. We will all be living & shopping closer together & despite what the authorities say, I believe that the ‘culture of the car’ is not over by a long-shot.  If I am correct, then the issue of pollution-related illness from vehicles is going to spike in the Inner West & we are going to need many more trees to try & lessen the particulate matter that the residents & workers are breathing in.

On 29th June 2010 I posted ‘Living close to a main road is bad for your heath’ which discusses this issue further.

https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/living-close-to-a-main-road-is-bad-for-your-health/

To read the article with a link to the research paper – http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100916/hl_nm/us_pollution_cardiac

Archives

Categories

© Copyright

Using and copying text and photographs is not permitted without my permission.

Blog Stats

  • 509,381 hits
%d bloggers like this: