Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens' Health spokesperson
Over the weekend in communities across the State, and specifically at New Norfolk, Judbury, Cygnet and Huonville, residents were subjected to thick choking smoke from Forestry Tasmania burns.
This is a serious health concern, as particulate pollution is a known risk to people with respiratory and cardiac conditions, elderly people and children.
In March this year, Forestry Tasmania announced it would be lighting 230 regeneration burns this autumn. It claimed these burns would only occur when weather conditions are suitable and the smoke would disperse.
Despite this assurance, in recent days Forestry fires have blanketed the State in toxic smoke. It’s clear they are not prioritising people’s health over company profit.
Forestry regeneration burns are yet again not being adequately controlled. Fires escaped their bounds in Judbury yesterday, and the TFS had to be called in to control the situation while there were two other vegetation fires around the State.
Air quality reporting data has shown high spikes in smoke pollution this April, particularly across areas New Norfolk, Huonville and Cygnet.
These burns are dramatically increase smoke pollution, and poison the air Tasmanians breathe. They damage our reputation as a clean, green tourism destination.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency has evidence that exposure to wood smoke causes premature deaths in people with lung and heart conditions, heart attacks, irregular heartbeats, aggravation of athsma, decreased lung function, and several other respiratory symptoms.
These extremely high levels of smoke pollution, and fires escaping control, clearly show that Forestry Tasmania, under this government’s priorities, is putting their bottom line ahead of public health and safety concerns.