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Picture, Geeveston, last Friday, April 12: Matt Newton, http://matthewnewton.com.au/Commercial/People/1/

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Picture, Geeveston, last Friday, April 12: Matt Newton, http://matthewnewton.com.au/Commercial/People/1/

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Pic: Rob Blakers, http://www.robblakers.com/

The Tasmanian Greens today said that merely monitoring the extent of smoke pollution in Tasmania was not enough, and called on the Minister for Health to carry out a full investigation into the human health impacts.

Greens Health spokesperson Paul O’Halloran MP said while the Minister was hailing the success of the first year of Tasmania’s air quality notification system, nothing was being done to address the major cause of air pollution Tasmania.

“Wood smoke, including smoke from so-called forestry regeneration burns, is the biggest cause of air pollution in Tasmania, and no amount of air quality monitoring is going to fix that basic problem,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“Scientific consensus is that there is no safe threshold for particle pollution, in the same way that there is no safe threshold level for exposure to tobacco smoke.”

“Many sources of wood smoke, including from fuel reduction burns and bushfires, are a reality we unfortunately need to live with, but there’s a lot we can do to end pollution caused by forestry regeneration burns.”

“Economic Appraisal of Wood Smoke Control Measures was conducted by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage found that controlling wood smoke pollution can result in substantial health benefits, valued at billions of dollars, and cost relatively little to implement.”

“Burning forestry waste releases a toxic cocktails of chemicals and particularly small PM 2.5 particles that can be very dangerous to people suffering a respiratory illness.”

“These high intensity burns are an unnecessary and outdated forestry practice that are driven by economic imperatives not public safety, and have no place in a modern and sustainable forest industry.”

“The Greens are long on the record as supporting fuel reduction burns to protect life and property, but Forestry Tasmania’s so-called regeneration burns are a very different story.”