A new Greenpeace report has confirmed that three of the top 100 hotspots for toxic sulfur dioxide pollution are right here in Australia.


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New report: Australia a hotspot for toxic sulfur dioxide

A new Greenpeace report has revealed that Australia is ranked 12th on the list of the top human-caused sulfur dioxide hotspots as tracked by NASA satellites. 


Toxic sulfur dioxide pollution can cause childhood asthma, heart and lung disease, dementia and fertility problems.


Power stations burning coal and oil along with industrial smelters are responsible for two-thirds of human-caused toxic sulfur dioxide emissions tracked by NASA satellites.


Unlike other countries, there are no legislated limits on how much sulfur dioxide Australian coal power stations are allowed to emit. 


Ageing coal-burning power stations in Australia are allowed to emit up to almost 12 times more sulfur dioxide than old power stations in China.  

Industrial smelting and the burning of coal, oil and gas are the leading causes of toxic sulfur dioxide pollution in Australia.


Sulfur dioxide hotspot in NSW:

This toxic sulfur dioxide plume potentially impacts 

1,788,766 people


Sulfur dioxide hotspot in Victoria:

This toxic sulfur dioxide plume potentially impacts 

473,622 people


Sulfur dioxide hotspot in Queensland:

This toxic sulfur dioxide plume potentially impacts 

21,696 people


What environment ministers need to do:

  1. Replace polluting coal-burning power stations with clean renewable energy within a decade
  2. Establish a national air pollution law that ensures all Australians are protected from the impacts of toxic air pollution
  3. Adopt clean air standards backed by leading health organisations
  4. Immediately adopt world-leading air pollution standards for coal-burning power stations to minimise harm to communities while coal burning power stations are replaced by clean renewable energy


Want to learn more? Read the full report here.

The above figures do not include the much greater number of people affected by secondary sulfur dioxide pollution not shown on these maps.


Call: 1800 815 151

Authorised by Dom Rowe, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, Sydney.

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