Mining communities soon able to breath easy
SMALL communities on the edge of vast mining projects in the Bowen Basin may soon be able to breath easy.
Isaac Regional Council has announced it will "take all necessary steps" to address potentially dangerous levels of dust in the air.
The council announced this week it was working with the State Government and the Department of Environment and Science to investigate what residents were breathing.
In August, the council was caught in a political dust storm, after it was revealed Moranbah residents had been repeatedly exposed to high levels of microscopic dust, known as PM10, over the past 12 months.
University of Queensland senior lecturer of Primary Care Clinical Unit David King said on some days breathing the air was "equivalent to smoking a cigarette a day".
Three months later, the council said it was determined not to let the dust settle on the issue.
Mayor Anne Baker said there was a need for precautionary and necessary steps to mitigate, manage and monitor the dust levels.
"This is an issue that will not go away. It is one that is front of the community's mind and also of council," Cr Baker said.
With much of the dust generated from mining projects, Cr Baker said the council would work with "the responsible authority for monitoring and enforcing environmental compliance at mines and quarries".
While dust monitors were able to record the level of pollution in the air, Cr Baker said the council was investigating how to measure the composition of the dust.
"As a community we are very mindful of the impacts of certain types of dust and particulate matter on people's health and wellbeing," she said.
"We recognise it's the State's responsibility and council would like to provide the community some reassurance in relation to this ongoing dust issue."
Cr Baker said there was a need to upgrade dust monitoring infrastructure, but added that it remained unclear "what this looks like in the responsible authority's future plans".
A Department of Environment and Science spokesperson said they were currently investigating further the air quality concerns.
"DES is aware that recent exceedances of PM10 .... at the Moranbah air quality station. It was determined strong winds accompanying the passage of weather fronts transported dust into the Moranbah area," they said.
They said the department had discussed the issues with the council in Octover, and would continue to work closely to address their concerns.