27 September 2023

EPA dirty over pollution outburst

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The number of pollution reports directed to the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria was increased across the State last financial year, more than doubling in some regions.

Acting Chief Executive Officer of EPA, Suzy Neilan linked the increases to work-from-home arrangements during the State’s many lockdowns, saying there was a particular increase in reports of noise pollution, dust and smoke.

“EPA encourages the reporting of pollution events and, with people working where they live, they seem to be noticing and reporting more often,” Ms Neilan said.

“Despite the pandemic, EPA has maintained a strong operational presence and increased the number of emergency events that it was able to attend,” she said.

“These events range from localised issues such as discolouring of waterways, to major events such as fires at waste facilities.”

Ms Neilan said that for the pollution categories of dust, noise, odour, smoke, waste and water, the Gippsland region recorded 1,019 reports in 2020-2021, up from 852 in 2019-2020; north east region 1,128, up from 1,023; south metro region 4,477, up from 3,503; western metro region 4,932, up from 2,207; north metro region 4,000, up from 2,183; north west region 1,165, up from 785; and south western region 1,916, down from 2,235.

She said the Environment Protection Act 2017, which came into effect last year, made the prevention of pollution everyone’s responsibility and EPA wanted to hear from people who thought they may have seen pollution or reasonably thought it might happen.

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