October 19, 2016

Toxic air pollution soars after Origin takes over Eraring power station

SYDNEY, Wednesday 19 October:  As Origin Energy’s annual general meeting begins in Sydney today, new analysis from the National Pollutant Inventory reveals that toxic emissions have increased significantly since the company took over the ailing Eraring coal plant near Lake Macquarie, NSW, in July 2013.

Since taking control of Eraring, increases of pollutants including sulphur dioxide, hydrochloric acid, fine particle pollution (PM2.5) and nitrogen oxides particulate matter have varied from between 11% to 77%. All these pollutants can cause significant health impacts and are a great concern to the local community.

“It’s startling to see just how much the air pollution from the Eraring coal plant has risen in the years since Origin took over its running in 2013,” said 350.org campaigner Josh Creaser. “We know these toxic emissions are incredibly risky for workers and the local community who have to breathe the polluted air.”

“Despite the obvious health concerns around the Eraring plant, especially given the increasing urbanisation of the area, Origin’s intention to keep operating this power station until the 2030s is just not good enough. The health risks caused by the dangerous pollutants as well as the greenhouse emissions that are driving climate change mean Origin must develop a plan to close Eraring as soon as possible.”

Local resident Louis Lica is looking to ask the board a question at Today’s AGM about the health impacts of the power station on the local.

Comparing 2011-12 emission levels from Eraring to the most recent figures (2014-15):

  • Sulphur dioxide emissions have increased 16% from 25 million to 29 million kilograms
  • Oxides of nitrogen increased from 11% from 18 million to 20 million kilograms
  • Hydrochloric acid emissions are up 12% to 1.1 million kilograms
  • Fine particle pollution (PM2.5) rose 69% to 440,000 kilograms
  • Fine particle pollution (PM10) rose 77% to 850,000 kilograms.

Full date regarding Origin’s pollutant increases are here. Health impacts of these pollutants can be found here.

Media contacts:

Cambell Klose, 350.org Communications: ph 0490 436 948, email cam@350.org.au.

Josh Creaser, 350.org Campaigner: ph on 0410 745 005, email josh@350.org.au.

Louis Lica, Local resident: ph 0421 327 296.