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Major Air Pollutants

There are hundreds of pollutants that are mixed into the air we breathe. Some of the most important air pollutants are described in this section. 

The National Environment Protection Measure (Air NEPM) establishes national ambient air quality standards for six major air pollutants that affect local air quality and are indicative of general ambient air quality. 

The standards in the Air NEPM are designed to protect human health and wellbeing.

Particle Matter (PM10 and PM2.5)

High levels of particle pollution are experienced in many areas around Tasmania during the cooler months. EPA Tasmania has been monitoring particulate matter at 34 sites in the state in a monitoring program as BLANkET (Base-Line Air Network of the EPA Tasmania). This program monitors population exposure to smoke from planned burns (but also serves as a valuable source of information for other air quality studies).​

Ozone (O3)

In the lower atmosphere ozone is both a pollutant and a greenhouse gas. Monitoring for ozone is not conducted in Tasmania because the population size and climate mean that ozone in the lower atmosphere is not a problem.

Carbon monoxide (CO)

For information on carbon monoxide see the fact sheet on the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy's web site.

Monitoring for CO was conducted at the Prince of Wales monitoring station in Hobart, from 2001 to 2004, but was discontinued because the levels were very low. The Department intends to monitor CO in city streets in Hobart. The Prince of Wales monitoring station was moved to New Town in 2006.

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2)

For information on nitrogen dioxide see the fact sheet on the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy's web site.

Routine monitoring for NO2 is not conducted in Tasmania.

Sulphur dioxide (SO2)

For information on sulphur dioxide see the fact sheet on the ​Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy's web site​​.

Sulphur dioxide reacts easily with other substances to form harmful compounds, such as sulphuric acid, sulphurous acid and sulphate particles. Routine monitoring for SO2 is not conducted in Tasmania as concentrations are very low. However, there is a SO2​ ​monitoring station at Princes Wharf, Hobart and two industry SO2 monitoring stations​, located at Bell Bay, near George Town and Lutana, Hobart.

Lead (Pb)

For information on lead see the fact sheet on the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy's web site.

Lead is known to be harmful to human health and its use is restricted to products that are not used for food or drink. Monitoring for lead is not conducted in Tasmania or in most other jurisdictions, as its removal from petrol has made airborne levels extremely low, all around Australia.

Air Specialist
134 Macquarie Street
Hobart TAS 7000
Phone: 03 6165 4599 Fax: 03 6173 0254
Email: Enquiries@epa.tas.gov.au