The Sutherland Shire Council's Strategic Plan 'Our Shire Our Future - Our Guide for Shaping the Shire to 2030' identifies the need to reduce our greenhouse emissions and improve air quality as a major priority. The objectives and strategies that the council employs to achieve these outcomes are outlined in the council's Delivery Plan.
For information on what the council is doing to reduce its greenhouse emissions, view the council's State of the Shire Report.
Impact of transport on air quality
In the Shire, the main pressure on air quality comes from the use of motor vehicles. Information from the NSW Ministry of Transport's Travel Data Centre on Sutherland Shire shows a high level of car dependence in comparison with the Sydney metropolitan area as a whole. Council's State of the Shire Report has information on basic transport data for the Sutherland Shire.
Air Quality and Health
The advances made in car engine and emissions technology are helping to lower the amount of pollution a car produces. However, the growth in car ownership and usage continues to compromise the benefits gained by exposing us to pollutants such as particulates (PM2.5), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and organic compounds (such as benzene, toluene and xylenes). These pollutants can increase our susceptibility to asthma and various respiratory diseases.
How can we improve the quality of air in the Sutherland Shire?
In Australia, cars are responsible for 51 per cent or 40 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, of which 40 per cent are released when engines are started, driving in stop-start traffic and during short trips. By using your bicycle, or walking some of the shorter trips to the shops, the playground, perhaps even to work, you can help reduce air pollution and reduce the impacts on the environment. Cycling and walking use no fossil fuels and are pollution-free modes of transport. By driving one less day each week, you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent (Australian Greenhouse Office).
Regional air quality information
The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage provide additional data on the Regional Air Quality Index.
Air Pollution Regulation
The council's environmental health officers are responsible for the investigation and enforcement of reported air pollution incidents in the Shire (excluding NSW Environment Protection Authority licensed premises). Typical matters investigated include discharges from solid fuel heating appliances, industrial premises and commercial food businesses. Environmental audits of industrial premises are also conducted on a regular basis both as an educational tool and to ensure industrial businesses meet environmental standards.
Backyard Burning and unauthorised incineration are prohibited at all times in all council areas in the Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle regions and in other NSW council areas listed in Schedule 8 of the Clean Air Regulation. More information - see the NSW Government's NSW Environmental Line website.
Additional Information for Students
A range of additional resources for students and interested residents on environmental issues, including greenhouse emissions and air quality is available on the Sutherland Shire Libraries website.