Industry improves clean air recordimprovesover time
By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au
TWENTY years ago Roy Rains had to keep his house closed up because of the pollution from nearby industry.
Today, however, the environmental improvements of local industries have made life a lot more bearable for Gladstone residents ... and it is starting to show.
Figures released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week show the number of complaints received last year were less than half the number received in 2003.
Last year 329 complaints were received in comparison to 805 the year before.
Having lived next to one of Gladstone's largest industries, QAL, since it began operating, Mr Rains said he had noticed a definite improvement.
'There was a time there where there was a lot of stuff in the air that has been cleaned up a lot,' Mr Rains said.
Mr Rains said others in the area where he has lived for more than 50 years have also seen an improvement.
'They (the industries) are doing what they have to to try and improve the environment,' he said.
Bill Pendry, another long-term resident who lives in the same area as Mr Rains, said he believed local industry had definitely cleaned up its act.
'There is an improvement to how it was in the early days,'' he said.
Mr Pendry said the smell from local industry was terr-ible and while it could still be smelt from time to time, it had improved dramatically.
An EPA spokesperson said the drop in complaints could be attributed to the cooperative approach between the agency and local industry.
'The EPA wants to see truly sustainable industry in this state and has worked with Gladstone industry towards this goal,'' the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added that the region's environmental performance had improved, with all local industry meeting EPA and national guidelines.
'We believe we've nearly got the balance right if complaints from the public are dropping, the environmental scorecard is looking good and industry in the Gladstone area is still expanding,' the spokesperson said.