Doctors warn of T4 coal-loader pollution

DOCTORS for the Environment has raised concerns about the proposed Terminal 4 coal-loader’s impact on Newcastle’s air quality.

The group’s submission to the Department of Planning says Newcastle already had high levels of particulate pollution, based on World Health Organisation standards.

It fears potential dust pollution from the T4 project would result in more people suffering from heart and lung disease.

‘‘Chronic exposure to particulate pollution has been linked to heart and lung disease and even short-term exposure to particulates is enough to affect lung function and trigger asthma attacks in susceptible people,’’ group spokeswoman Dr Linda Selvey said.

‘‘If the coal port expansion goes ahead, together with at least five major developments that have already been approved, the air quality in Newcastle can only get worse.’’

Doctors for the Environment is an independent, public health organisation of medical doctors.

The group’s concerns are similar to those expressed by six Newcastle public health professionals who have also made a submission about the project.

Both groups argue the T4 environmental impact statement significantly underestimates the impact the project will have on pollution levels.

They have called for more air pollution studies and a health impact assessment of the current pollution level.

Port Waratah Coal Services has previously said the project’s environmental impact statement addressed all relevant environmental issues.

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