26 September 2023

Wood found sending air up in smoke

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The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has partnered with SA Health to investigate the effect of wood smoke on air quality at Mount Barker.

Director of Science and Systems at the EPA, Keith Baldry said SA Health would assess the results of the EPA study, which had been set up in response to comments from residents in the area that wood smoke was a problem during the colder months.

“The study will measure wood smoke particulate levels and determine whether air quality is within national standards,” Mr Baldry said.

“The real-time air quality and weather data will be made publicly available during the initial 12-month study period, with a report on the findings to be published around October 2023.”

He encouraged residents to take part in the study because they could provide valuable local knowledge to supplement the data.

“Residents have the knowledge that can supplement the findings from our air quality monitoring station,” Mr Baldry said.

“There is increasing evidence that even relatively low levels of air pollution can have adverse effects on human health, particularly for children, the elderly and those with respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.”

Exposure to particulate matter could exacerbate conditions such as asthma and other respiratory diseases.

“We also know that particle pollution from wood smoke is one of the main sources,” he said.

A community information session is planned for the end of August to outline the study and explain how residents can get involved.

The EPA has previously carried out air quality monitoring in Mount Gambier and the Adelaide Hills as part of the SmokeWatch Program.

More information about the study can be accessed at this PS News link.

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