Lake Macquarie and the Central Coast have some of the most polluting power stations in the world
Vales Point is one of Australia’s oldest coal fired power stations and is in close proximity to densely populated communities.
That is why a group of health professionals, including doctors, nurses and allied health professionals are speaking out and advocating for stricter pollution standards on coal fired power stations. We have an opportunity right now to embrace renewable energy and all the economic, health and environmental benefits it has to offer.
How does air pollution affect health?
Image credit: Moms for Clean Air Action: https://www.momscleanairforce.org/resources/how-air-pollution-harms-your-body/
Worldwide air pollution is estimated to kill seven million people every year. You can find out more on the World Health Organisation website: https://www.who.int/health-topics/air-pollution
Vales Point and other Australian coal fired power stations are currently permitted to emit toxic pollution at levels far greater than would be allowed overseas. In NSW toxic air pollution from coal-fired power stations contributes to premature death, low birth weight in babies, and type 2 diabetes. There is therefore a strong case to be made to Australian governments to set new pollution limits in line with international standards.
Lake Macquarie and Central Coast communities are also at risk from coal ash – the toxic by-product of coal-fired power, that is dumped into huge wastewater ponds that can leach and contaminate local land and waterways.
The world is moving beyond coal as countries transition to safer, healthier, and now cheaper ways of making renewable electricity from the sun and wind. We need to ensure the government leaves no community behind and addresses the immediate health impacts that are a result of the ageing coal fired power stations.