Rubber meets the road

THE dust from the coal trains would affect only a narrow corridor along the train lines – say about 500metres on each side. I live at East Maitland about that distance from the line and often observe the coal wagons when they pass through. The coal appears to be quite damp and I don’t see any dust flying around.

A possible real culprit for dust pollution is rubber from the wearing out of tyres on motor vehicles.

There are about 14.7million vehicles on our roads (ABS census, 2010). My calculation indicates that about 6.8kilograms of rubber is lost from each set of tyres on those 14.7million vehicles (not including large trucks). That makes about 100million tonnes of rubber. Where do these particles of worn rubber dissipate to? In nearly every house or building, no matter where you live, you find black dust on the the building, on the window sills.

If a full and proper research study was carried out by, say, the CSIRO or others, the results would, I believe, be more staggering. So don’t blame the coal trains for all of the pollution.

John Sheridan, East Maitland

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