Sam Ricciu from the Gladstone Clean Air Group believes community and industry can work together to solve environmental issues.
Sam Ricciu from the Gladstone Clean Air Group believes community and industry can work together to solve environmental issues.

Dust-free city not just hot air

LEE McIVORlmcivor@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org

SAM Ricciu has a dream and that dream is to see clean air in Gladstone become a reality.

Mr Ricciu formed the Gladstone Clean Air Group about five years ago in a bid to improve the coal dust problem.

'The group was formed after a petition of about 2800 signatures was raised in 2001 citing concerns about the quality of air in our city,' Mr Ricciu said.

Twenty eight meetings later and that dream is closer to becoming a reality.

The Gladstone Clean Air Group has been working extensively with QAL to address the environment concerns associated with the plant.

'Last year we saw several major projects completed leading to a lessening of the negative impacts of pollution from QAL,' he said.

'A number of environmental management plans have been lodged with the EPA to overcome caustic and dust problems.

'We would like the pace of reform to be quicker but we recognise the technical problems that need to be overcome will take a little longer than first thought.'

Mr Ricciu said some of the changes made in QAL include simplifying the shape and discharge point for caustic pipes to engineer out the problem, to the installation of sophisticated robot equipment.

'Modifications such as these also contribute to improved workplace health and safety for employees and contractors,' he said.

QAL managing director Johann van Zyl said working with the group has demonstrated the depth of QAL's commitment to environmental improvements and the value of community input in addressing their expectations.

'Recent results show a 44 per cent reduction in community complaints in the last year, however we would like to see zero complaints,' he said.



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