The NSW Government must immediately commit to improving and promoting public transport if there is any chance of reducing NSW’s air pollution in the next 10 years, according to the State’s peak environment group.
“Reports that NSW will not meet some current air pollution targets, including levels of ozone, show that the State Government has not made a dent in decreasing vehicle use and polluting emissions,” Cate Faehrmann, executive director of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW said today.
“Government warnings for some Sydneysiders to avoid outdoor exercise due to high levels of ozone pollution were not uncommon during January this year. Ozone can irritate airways; induce coughing and wheezing; and aggravate breathing difficulties such as asthma.
“It is unacceptable that vulnerable groups, such as people with respiratory diseases and young children, were already forced indoors this Summer to escape the corrosive effects of ozone pollution. We can expect more ill health effects over the next 10 years as concentrations of ozone and other pollutants rise because of climate change, population increases and a projected acceleration in car use of at least 10.8 per cent by 2016.
“Increasing public transport use is one of the most effective ways the NSW Government can reduce car exhaust fumes and improve the quality of the air we breathe. Yet the number of public transport journeys in Sydney has risen by only 1.4 per cent in the past 10 years.
“We cannot successfully deal with the state’s air pollution problem or its greenhouse gas emissions without a dramatic rise in the number of people getting out of their cars and using bikes, trains, buses and ferries.
“The Nature Conservation Council calls on the State Government to urgently move away from a transport approach heavily biased towards roads and invest in more sustainable transport options,” Ms Faehrmann said.