Image for Forestry Smoke ... not a good start for David O’Byrne

In Budget Estimates recently David O’Byrne MP, was reported in Hansard as saying the acknowledged dangerous levels of forestry smoke earlier this year was “completely acceptable”. Not a good start for our new Minister for Environment.

Reference was also made to “the village idiot”. Who might this village idiot be? I would imagine from the latest 2008 EPA figures it could be the one who burnt 7.2 million tonnes of wet wood during our wet season and released close to a million tones of toxic particulates into our airsheds across Tasmania.

The fact we have the highest rate of asthma in Australia does not seem to matter. Our forestry industries are allowed to keep burning and this must stop under our Pollution Control Act as they are not exempt from causing harm.

Our new air monitoring equipment does not comply with Australia’s current PM10 ambient air monitoring Standard. Unless this Standard changes no prosecutions will ever be successful as readings are only indicative and the smoke continues unabated.

At present our EPA and Environmental Health have no regulatory control over planned burn smoke. Again, current governance has failed the people.

The FPA’s smoke trial has proved to be another disaster for the 3rd year running and people’s health has been made to suffer for many years to come. Let those responsible tell this to our families as we, and our Heath Department, struggle with asthma, COPD, cancer, diabetes, and infant mortality.