By Benjamin Millar
A NOISE-monitoring program on Yarraville’s Francis Street has confirmed traffic noise levels remain high enough to impact residents.
Third-quarter results from the Environment Protection Authority’s year-long air quality and noise testing regime, released on Monday, reveal average road traffic noise levels of up to 78 decibels – high enough “to cause annoyance and disturb speech and sleep”.
Air quality testing showed levels were within national standard limits on all but two days, but PM2.5 particle levels (particulate matter up to 2.5 micrometers in size) were tracking slightly above the annual national advisory reporting standard.
The EPA will produce a final report after 12 months of testing, but concerns continue to be raised about the program by residents and Maribyrnong Council.
The council’s submission to the current Senate committee on ‘The impacts on health of air quality in Australia’ notes a “very clear and unequivocal” health risk from diesel pollution at levels below current objectives and standards.
“Many health studies have been conducted in relation to diesel emissions, and the overwhelming consensus is that they are harmful to health at any level of exposure,” the submission states. “Clearly the EPA, in its Francis Street reports, is creating a false impression that not exceeding the objectives means that human health is protected.”
The EPA’s monitoring program report claims current national standards remain the appropriate compliance standard.
EPA principal air quality expert Dr Paul Torre said the authority must work within the current regulatory framework. “This is not a health study; the objective is to look at the air quality,” he said.
The testing regime has also been criticised by residents for failing to measure the most heavily polluted parts of Francis Street.
Dr Torre maintains it is important to have data that provides a fair snapshot of an area. “You want to monitor somewhere that is generally representative. We’re getting the trucks slowing down and speeding up and taking off.”The final report will be released later this year