The recently released National Pollutant Inventory 2020-21 shows that Central Queenslanders and local ecosystems are being exposed to increasingly high levels of toxic pollutants from coal fired power stations.

Of particular concern are the levels of nitrous oxides which affect areas well away from a coal-fired power station.   Nitrous oxides are known to impact the cardiovascular system and respiratory system, and exacerbate symptoms of asthma and other respiratory diseases, especially in children1.

Capricorn Conservation Council’s climate campaigner, Dr Coral Rowston, said “in Rockhampton, we are affected by pollution from Stanwell, Gladstone and Callide B & C power stations. These power stations make up four of the top five nitrous oxide emitters in Australia.”

“We don’t have an effective air pollution regulation in Queensland. Each power station relies on its own negotiated license agreement. Most power stations in Queensland are allowed to pollute at levels significantly higher than international standards.”  

“We desperately need the Queensland Government to deliver a plan to move away from coal towards renewable energy, to secure long-term jobs and healthy futures for central Queenslanders,” the nitrous oxide emissions intensity at Stanwell Power Station rose by 3% in the last year, making it now the third most polluting coal fired power station in Australia”, Dr Rowston said. 

This is an issue across the state, according to Queensland Conservation Council. 

“Queensland’s eight coal fired power stations contributed more particulate matter and nitrogen oxides to the atmosphere than NSW’s fleet and even more than Victoria’s oldest and dirtiest brown coal stations.”  

“Queensland will soon be home to the most toxic coal stations in Australia as NSW and Victoria close their coal fired power stations this decade. We are going to be left with toxic stranded assets, harming our economy and our environment, unless we improve regulation and plan for the move to renewable energy,” Ms Silcock said.

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