Air pollution in the MIA

In many ways asthmatics such as Nicole and Reuben Portolesi are like the proverbial canary in the coal mine when it comes to air quality in the MIA

Airbourne smoke-particle pollution affects the health of all residents, with respiratory issues only the most obvious short-term impacts.

It is selfish of farmers to treat our atmosphere like an open sewer to dispose of their waste.

There is a need to promote alternatives to stubble burning.

Just as wastewater can no longer be flushed down rivers, steps need to be taken to stop large-scale disposal of waste into the atmosphere.

Air quality in the MIA needs to be monitored and an appropriate authority needs to be identified who can take action.

In 2016 an EPA spokesman stated in The Area News that farms did not fall under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act and the responsibility for regulation belonged to councils.

Griffith City Council's Director of Sustainable Development responded that local government "has no specific powers to act in regard to agricultural smoke or burn-off, or act on the subsequent air quality issues... It is unclear why the EPA say otherwise in regards to agricultural burn-off.”

While it is admirable the Rice Growers Association are taking steps to manage the issue, there are broader implications for every resident with the lack of monitoring and oversight of air quality in the MIA.