Resident cleans coal dust from house
By LEE McIVORlmcivor@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org
'THE colour of my roof is white but it is more black than white these days,' says Rosemary Ross.
West Gladstone resident Mrs Ross was commenting on a problem that doesn't seem to be going away ? the amount of coal dust covering Gladstone.
'It is a big issue,' she said. 'Recent statements from politicians and our councillors about increasing our coal export loading capacities in the coming years have not addressed the issue of pollution in our town from coal dust.
'Every two days I have to clean coal dust from the railings around our house.
'And our neighbours regularly wash down their house.'
Mrs Ross said the problem was exacerbated when the northerly and north-westerly winds hit town.
'Then you can see the dust swirling around from the power station and the port stockpiles,' she said.
'Before the drought the coal wagons used to be watered down which helped the situation somewhat, but it doesn't appear to be happening now.'
The Central Queensland Ports Authority (CQPA) has declined to comment on the issue.
However, in its 2004-5 annual report the CQPA said it received 39 complaints relating to dust emissions, an increase of six complaints on the previous year.
A spokesperson from the EPA said they had received five complaints in the past 12 months from Gladstone residents.
Two of the complaints were related to an unusual 45 knot wind event in November and three were from residents where no single source of the dust was identified.
Mrs Ross said the issue of coal dust covering the town needed to be taken seriously by council and industry.
'In China, coal stockpiles are covered to minimise the impact of coal dust,' she said.
'Both council and industry need to work together and put in place adequate measures to lessen the impact of coal dust. "We need to be able to live here comfortably.'