A Brisbane doctor has voiced her concerns about the health impacts a proposed Sunshine Coast sand mine will lead to, especially for children and elderly people.
An application has been placed by Maroochydore Sands PLC to convert pasture and native wetland along Eudlo Flats into an open sand mine.
Dr Tonia Douglas, consultant paediatric respiratory physician at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital and a concerned parent herself, said the mine, which would be located close to the Montessori International College and Sunshine Coast Grammar School, will expose students and staff to significant respiratory health risks from airborne pollution.
“Sand mining causes emissions of micro-particles into the air. These particles are so small that they can be breathed far into the lung and remain there,” she said.
She said the sand inhalation could lead to asthma, cough and bronchitis, reduced lung function and chronic lung disease through inhalation of particles, such as silica.
“Trucks and heavy machinery involved in mining and transport of sand extraction further exposes vulnerable communities (children in particular) to airborne pollution and particulate matter (PM) from exhaust fumes, also causing the above problems,” Dr Douglas said.
“Heavy traffic from trucks make our roads less safe for children travelling to and from school. These particles are light and easily carried by wind currents so they may affect children living and playing within a large radius from the mine site.
“Heavy pollution with high levels of micro particulate matter is associated with increased deaths from respiratory and cardiac causes among the elderly and sick.”
Dr Douglas also said the environmental impact of sand mining was “enormous”.