The monitoring of air quality at the Cannon Hill railway station in Brisbane is set to continue through to 2016 as part of industry measures to be proactive in the management of dust emissions from coal trains traveling the south-west corridor to the Port of Brisbane.
Announcing a 12-month extension of live monitoring at Cannon Hill, Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche said communities adjacent to the rail corridor could continue to make up their own minds whether air quality was a genuine issue or a political opportunity for anti-coal industry activists.
‘Cannon Hill’s air quality has been published in near real time on the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection’s website since March 2014, complemented by data from dust deposition stations at Cannon Hill, Fairfield and Toowoomba,’ Mr Roche said.
‘What has become crystal clear from the start of independent monitoring and reporting in 2013 is that air quality adjacent to the south-west rail corridor falls well within state government targets and Australian standards.
‘After publication of a peer-reviewed investigation by air quality specialists from the Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts (DSITIA), Queensland Health concluded that ‘… for people living along the corridor, the dust concentrations measured during the (2013) investigation are unlikely to result in any additional adverse health effects.’
In 2013, all coal mines exporting through the Port of Brisbane voluntarily introduced polymer veneering and ‘garden bed’ profiling to reduce dust from coal wagons.
The veneering solution is an environmentally-friendly, water-based mixture sprayed on top of coal loaded onto rail wagons. It dries to form a flexible crust over the coal, physically inhibiting dust.
Mr Roche said the South West Users’ Group took its environmental obligations seriously and through its 2013 Coal Dust Management Plan had committed to keeping communities adjacent to the rail corridor and their elected representatives fully informed.
‘The latest dust suppression initiatives by Queensland Bulk Handling at the Port of Brisbane are another indicator of industry’s ongoing commitment to environmental improvement to the benefit of communities along the coal supply chain,’ he said.
‘Industry has nothing to hide and is happy to be judged on its performance.’