Power stations make lake air a toxic mixture

 LAKE Macquarie’s coal-fired power stations release a toxic cocktail of chemicals into the air, according to National Pollutant Inventory data.

LAKE Macquarie’s coal-fired power stations release a toxic cocktail of chemicals into the air, according to National Pollutant Inventory data.

Eraring emits about 28million kilograms of oxides of nitrogen and 33million kilograms of sulphur dioxide each year.

Vales Point emits 17million kilograms of oxides of nitrogen and 17million kilograms of sulphur dioxide a year.

Other pollutants include arsenic, cadmium, carbon monoxide, chromium, copper, hydrochloric acid, mercury, particulates, sulphuric acid and volatile organic compounds.

Health experts say the pollutants can worsen and/or cause health problems, including asthma, respiratory infection and heart and lung disease.

As reported yesterday, a council report found Lake Macquarie had the state’s highest oxides of nitrogen emissions and second highest sulphur dioxide emissions.

Councillors voted last night to submit the report, which calls for a public air-quality monitoring station in Lake Macquarie, to a senate inquiry on air pollution.

Councillor Ken Paxinos said the report included nothing about urging the removal of the pollution.

He said he would have liked the report to be more about action than measurement.

He said coal-fired power placed the ‘‘residents of our good city at some risk’’.

Cr Barry Johnston, a former Vales Point power station operator, said it was possible to reduce emissions for nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide, but it was expensive and would lead to an increase in power prices.

‘‘They don’t do it because there’s no requirement from the state or federal governments,’’ he said.

He said there should be a public air monitor in Lake Macquarie.

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