A Maitland councillor says the town is being neglected in air quality control readings, sending the message that governments don’t want to know about pollution.
Councillor Henry Meskauskas said the city needs its own readings, despite the feelings amongst locals that monitoring the levels would make things difficult in Maitland and put pressure on the state government to tighten regulations on pollution levels.
‘‘We’ve got the trains going past every three minutes leaving dust and rubbish, and it’s going to be more money for [coal companies] to put some kind of cover on the wagons,’’ Cr Meskauskas said.
The comments come following decisions on monitoring stations in the Upper Hunter, with the Upper Hunter Air Quality Monitoring Network advisory committee closer to agreements on the locations of stations in Muswellbrook, Aberdeen, Singleton and Warkworth.
The Upper Hunter Air Quality Monitoring Network provides residents in the Upper Hunter access to real-time air quality information online 24 hours a day.
Director-general of the Department of Environment, Lisa Corbyn said committee members have visited the proposed sites in Muswellbrook and Aberdeen and has made “significant headway”.
‘‘While the general locale of all 14 monitoring stations has already been endorsed by the committee, at last week’s general meeting they agreed on the detailed site selection,’’ Ms Corbyn said.
Meskauskas has slammed the decision not to take air quality readings in the city, and said getting proper indications of air quality in the Upper Hunter without monitoring Maitland was a “cop-out”.
‘‘I hear the trains going past, my car’s got black dust on it and we’re breathing that,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s a cop-out, and it’s about time they started to get fair dinkum about it.’’
Previously, the councillor has called for study by the state government to study the impact of coal mining and coal mining power station on the health of residents in the Hunter.
He said the study should assess the cumulative impacts of dust and emissions from the Rutherford industrial estate.