There are hundreds of pollutants that are mixed into the air we breathe. Some of the most important air pollutants are described in this
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. The Environment Division has
been monitoring particulate matter at four sites in the state, Ti Tree Bend in Launceston, Rowella in the Tamar Valley, George Town and at New Town in Hobart.
The Division is also establishing another monitoring site at Devonport High School, Devonport, to also monitor particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5).
Recently, another particle monitoring program commenced in Tasmania known 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) at 13 locations (with plans to extend this to 16 locations).
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 Environment and Heritage'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 Environment and Heritage'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 Environment and Heritage's web site.
Sulphur dioxide reacts easily with other substances to form harmful compounds, such as sulfuric acid, sulfurous acid and sulfate particles. Routine monitoring for SO2 is not conducted in Tasmania, except near Nyrstar zinc smelter at Risdon in Hobart, as concentrations are very low.
For information on lead see the fact sheet on the Australian Government Department of Environment and Heritage'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