This is something we cannot ignore!
It is stated by the EPA, that particle emissions released into the Tasmanian airshed from forestry planned burns in 2008 were predicted to be in the range of 86,000 to 120,000 tonnes.
We all breathed this smoke. It got into our eyes, our nose, our lungs, our homes, as it does every year. Even our animals (wild and domestic) suffer it as well.
What would you say then, if you knew you had potentially been exposed to the equivalent particle pollution of between 6.45 trillion and 9.15 trillion cigarettes in 2008? That is between 6,450,000,000,000 and 9,150,000,000,000 cigarettes (30 cigarettes = 0.4 grams particle pollution). We all know how dangerous cigarette smoke is.
Laws and Regulations are being introduced in many countries (Australia included) to tell people where they are not permitted to smoke. Even in Launceston aldermen are looking at stopping people smoking in the mall and at bus stops because cigarette smoke is harmful.
At long last the health message is getting through and this message is, ‘don’t blow your smoke in other people’s faces”.
Why then, don’t the non-smoking rules apply to planned burn smoke? It has been determined that many of the harmful substances found in cigarette smoke are also found in wood smoke. Both are burning vegetation. See HERE:
Dr James Markos, Respiratory Physician and Chairman of the Tasmanian Branch of The Australian Lung Foundation, feels strongly about the particles that are released into the atmosphere with woodsmoke. “There is no safe level of exposure to particle pollution. Over many years, exposure has similar long-term consequences to environmental tobacco smoke, including the risk of lung cancer and heart disease…”
50 years plus of planned burn smoke in Tasmania is no longer acceptable when, “Health effects from particulate matter occur after exposures of 2-4 hours or less in duration of woodsmoke at the 12 - 29mcg/m3 range” (Koenig et al. 1993)
There are no quit smoking courses for planned burn smoke, no patches, no hypnosis. Even Asthma Foundation Tasmania refuses to lobby on behalf of asthmatics and we have the highest rates of asthma in Australia. (See HERE:).
“Air pollution is the hidden cause of deaths that were previously attributed to other causes” says the Californian Environmental Protection Agency
There is no practical way to protect ourselves from what I believe is this needless planned burn smoke and just like cigarette smoke it shortens lives. This is why I feel it must be stopped at the source.
We have successful, alternate, smokeless, ways to stop this large scale pernicious pollution and we must start using them. Some of these methods can be found at: http://www.cleanairtas.com/alternat.htm
If you are a non-smoker then why are you being made to inhale this planned burn smoke?
The EPA in my opinion is failing to administer our primary and over-riding Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act in relation to this harmful wide-scale environmental pollution.