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Australian Medical Association tips to handle air pollution

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Lauren Mcdougall    17 November 2017

hank you for your email. Please see the response from the Australian Medical Association AMA with regard to air pollution strategies. Air quality in Australia is protected and maintained by a number of preventative and monitoring strategies. Provided below is an outline of some of the key measures that are in place including links to resources where appropriate . The National Clean Air Agreement has been in place since December 2015 and built on existing air quality management strategies. The mid term review of the agreement found that it has thus far functioned as intended and achieved significant progress in a range of action areas. A full review is scheduled for December 2017. The primary activities within the Agreement fall into four action areas Standards o The development and review of national consistent standards relating to air quality monitoring and reporting and emissions reduction. o An example of these standards is the National Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 which reduces the amount of toxic pollutants in vehicle emissions by limiting the levels of pollutants in all fuels available in Australia. It is estimated that this will result in a 50 per cent reduction of some pollutants over 20 years. o The National Environmental Protection Council Ambient Air Quality Measure has been in place since 1998 and sets monitoring and reporting standards for six key pollutants. Emissions Reduction measures o Measures which aim to reduce air pollution and or population exposure to air pollution specifically focusing on sources of pollution not currently managed by other regulations such as non road spark ignition engines e.g. gardening equipment and wood heaters. o Measures which have been implemented under the agreement include public education programs incentivised energy efficiency targets and licensing regulations. Partnerships and cooperation o Activities under the partnerships and cooperation banner are designed to foster engagement with non government sector and industry to develop non regulatory measures to improve air quality. o These activities are generally implemented at a local level and have included collaborations between state governments and construction sector stakeholders to reduce emissions in the construction sector and Citizen Science initiatives which allow members of the community to participate in air quality monitoring activities. Better Knowledge education and awareness o The final category incorporates actions to identify knowledge gaps future trends and innovative strategies to maintain Australia s air quality. o Such measures include a proposed National Air Quality Data Service The Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub and the National Pollutant Inventory. The AMA has previously provided a submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs Inquiry into the impacts on health of air quality in Australia. Many of the recommendations made by the AMA are reflected in the National Clean Air Agreement strategies such as Develop air quality standards and monitoring guidelines to support reductions in ultrafine PM0.1 particulates including strategies to reduce ultrafine particulate emissions from vehicles and stationary sources. Air quality monitoring and health surveillance needs to be expanded and strengthened to more effectively measure the exposure of vulnerable groups and populations living in close proximity to major source of air pollution such as industrial point sources or major roads. National emission standards should be developed for non road diesel engines and equipment and in alignment with US and EU emissions standards and regulations. Similarly the AMA position statement Climate Change and Human Health 2015 outlines the health impacts of air pollution and calls for mitigation strategies such as an active transition to non combustion energy sources. Please don t hesitate to contact us should you need any further information on the above material. Kind regards Lauren McDougall

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