Since the opening of the Westfield shopping centre expansion, Doncaster residents have complained of black soot in their homes – a direct result of the increased traffic pollution.
Due to our poor public transport system, Manningham’s residents are strongly dependent upon car usage. Our reliance on cars, buses and trucks (petrol and diesel) as the only mode of transportation has had a detrimental impact on air quality and public health, with the significant release of high levels of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, benzene and the dangerous particle matter pollution. It seems that the more we learn about pollution, the more we realize how much of it we’ve been living with. So-called soot pollution is a good example of this as up until eight years ago we didn’t even have any regulations regarding its ambitions. Fortunately, we are now learning (thanks in part to the EPA) how damaging
it has been to human health from the soot (particle matter) emitted by trucks, buses and cars. The size of these tiny particles are directly linked to the trouble they cause. Particles smaller than a speck of dust and less than 1/30 the width of a human hair that can easily pass through the nose and throat, penetrate and embed in the lungs and enter the bloodstream. The smallest of particles cause the largest amount of damage because they can penetrate furthermost into the lungs and in some cases can react with DNA. The particle matter, or PM, as it is often called can be so small that it can only be detected by an electronic microscope. These particles enter our lungs without our ever knowing it.
How will our city handle the growth? What are the implications for traffic, air pollution and our health? Recent science suggests there is an up to 500 m risk zone from air pollution around heavily used roadways. Within this risk zone, vehicle emissions are concentrated at levels higher than background concentrations, and the risks of various diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and respiratory ailments, can increase. The traffic pollutants especially relevant to health include particulate matter (soot), volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides (precursors to smog)
Soot and nitrogen oxide from car, bus and truck exhaust are most concentrated within 100 to 300 meters though vehicle emissions can travel up to 500 meters. Stop-and-go driving in traffic gridlock, whether it’s on local roads or the freeway it will generate as much as three times the pollution of free-flowing traffic.
US studies reveal that children are especially vulnerable to the effects of traffic-related air pollution; studies show increased prevalence of asthma, respiratory symptoms and stunted lung development.
A key study from 2005 found that the risk of asthma increased 89% for each quarter-mile closer children lived to a major roadway; the follow-up 2007 study found decreased lung air flow function for children living within about 1500 feet of a major roadway.
US ENVIRONMENT AND HUMAN HEALTH, INC. MISSION STATEMENT
“Environment and Human Health, Inc., founded in 1997, is a nonprofit organization in US made up of doctors, public health professionals and policy experts dedicated to the purpose of protecting public health from environmental harms through research, education and the promotion of sound public policy. We are committed to improving public health and to the reduction of environmental health risks to individuals”. (click on link below)