According to a Melbourne University summary of findings published in April this year, there is a direct link between the level of our air pollution and detrimental health consequences, with research suggesting links between air pollution and bladder cancer, Alzheimer’s, stroke, lung cancers and respiratory infections in our children and our elderly.
Yet most of us are not overly concerned by our air quality here in the Upper Hunter.
We live in this beautiful part of the Hunter Valley, enjoying our seemingly clear skies and fresh country air, in reality oblivious to the toxic invisible air-soup we breathe.
It is not for no reason that we have air-quality monitoring stations in Aberdeen and Merriwa, and if you subscribe to the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage air quality alerts like I do, it is always chilling to receive the information text messages when our local air quality breaches national standards yet again.
And now we are about to add a bypass in Scone, as well as a 24 hour truck stop in Murrurundi and potentially a 24 hour truck stop in Aberdeen. Health-wise, none of this is good news.
Four days ago the Sydney Morning Herald reported that new analysis shows “Australia’s love affair with diesel cars has helped push the nation’s energy emissions to a record high” warning the Turnbull government that “road transport rivals electricity as the most pressing energy challenge.”
The ultra-fine particles emitted from all vehicles including new cars and trucks are inhaled by us all travelling through our bloodstreams and central nervous systems before lodging deep inside our brains, hearts and other organs. These ultra-fine particles also penetrate our skin and can spread through our lymphatic systems. And for those of us who live or work near busy roads including our children in schools and childcare centres, the situation is far far worse.
And we wonder why child asthma is so high in the Hunter Valley..
If we keep building roads and facilitating 24 hour truck stops, we will just keep adding to the mix of contaminated air which in turn will just keep 'driving' premature deaths.