Tasmanian Times


The truth about smoke

Those who reckon we have more domestic wood heater smoke than forestry smoke in Tasmania please read on.

The forest smoke figures for fuel reduction, regeneration, agriculture and bushfires in 2008 were underestimated in the National Pollution Inventory by a staggering 330 to 460 times.

Although the figures in the NPI claimed to be for ALL forest burns, it seems that our smoky, heavy fuel-load, regeneration burns were not included in the figures.

As we pay for this in more ways than one, we can only wonder if this was a genuine mistake, and what other mistakes have been made over the years.

Instead of woodheaters in 2008 being blamed for contributing about 14 times more particulates than forest burning (a ridiculous figure), this has now been revised by the EPA to read that forest planned burns contributed approximately 24 times the amount of PM10 particles into the airshed than domestic wood heaters.

It is great to see the revised figures while we sit here choking, but as the EPA points out the wrong figures have been used in good faith by a number of agencies and organizations in the past and are still on public record.

Forestry burning must cease. It contributes by far the most toxic particles into our airsheds, and take it from me, into our lungs and bloodstream.

You can read the EPA report: HERE

And there is a slightly different version: HERE, which is also the source of the picture

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  1. john hayward

    January 10, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    The explanation is obvious. The loggers really don’t do very much in the way of “regeneration” burns- they omit the millions of tonnes of waste burns. This is a modest lie for them.

    John Hayward

  2. Garry Stannus

    January 10, 2010 at 12:20 am

    Thanks Clive.
    I find this information to be particularly concerning. I am dismayed, Clive. Who is/was the Minister responsible? At a rough glance it seems that the data were excluded because of the forestry dogma that smoke from woodburns is carbon neutral and therefore we don’t have to worry about it. At the risk of taking parts of the report out of context, I quote the following remarks contained within that report:

    1. “The under-reporting of the amount of forest burning in Tasmania in the NPI (and hence the consequent under-estimate of particle emission levels from forest industry operations in the Tasmanian Air Quality Strategy 2006) thus appears to be due to an omission of the ‘regeneration’ burn category rather than a miscalculation or data error.”


    2. “A possible explanation for the absence of ‘regeneration burns’ in the DEST ‘Workbook’ is that for carbon accounting, regeneration of forest areas may be considered carbon neutral, at least in a steady-state situation. This may explain why the regeneration burns were not included in the Greenhouse Gas workbook. Verification of this hypothesis was sought from
    one of the compilers of the 1996 Workbook, but with the passage of time it was not possible for this to be confirmed or refuted. For estimating pollution emissions levels however all sources need to be included. The NPI data appear deficient in this regard.”

    Clive, this suggests to me that the data were not initially omitted by oversight, but rather as a result of the unhealthy influence which so-called forestry thinking exerts over our poor Tasmanian state. We deserve better. We have a right to clean air. I reject the dominant ‘slash and burn’ paradigm.

    The report referred to in your article deserves much closer examination. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  3. Bob McMahon

    January 9, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    Monday Jan 11th is a Total Fire Ban Day. Has anyone told Forestry Tasmania or are they exempt?

    As for the Beaconsfield fire that has burned for over a week I guess the police investigation will fail to find the culprit in the same way that the culprit was not identified when the East Tamar went up in flames a while back.

  4. salamander

    January 9, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    You would think common sense would tell them it was wrong! How can fuel heaters possibly contribute more?

  5. Pete Godfrey

    January 9, 2010 at 9:06 am

    Thanks Clive I am sure that no one will know how that sort of mistake could possibly happen.
    Probably a white board failure or the butcher stole the paper back and used it.

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