Hunter gets new air quality monitors

Four new air quality monitors have been set up in the upper Hunter Valley.

The new monitors are situated in north west Singleton, Bulga, Camberwell and Mount Thorley, in addition to the monitors at Singleton, Muswellbrook and Maison Dieu, the Newcastle Herald reports.

‘‘We now have seven sites providing reliable real-time data on air quality in the Upper Hunter region and we are on target to have all 14 sites operating by the end of 2011,’’ NSW environment minister Robyn Parker said.

The Regional Air Quality Index upgrades have also been completed.

The index allows interested parties access to real time air quality data.

It has a new map-based website that updates wind speed and direction as well as particle data, every hour.

These new monitoring stations come after nine coal mines through NSW were placed on legally binding dust restriction programs.

These mines include BHP’s Mount Arthur mine, Xstrata’s Liddell and Bengalla mines, and the Stratford and Tasman mines.

Hunter Valley residents had also called for increased action to monitor and improve air quality in the region, with dust from mining operations blamed as the main culprit behind high particulate levels.

According to the National Pollutant Inventory numbers, close to half of the State’s fine dust emissions are produced in Singleton and Muswellbrook alone.

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