The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has commenced monitoring local air quality in Hobart Port, providing live data via its website ahead of the next cruise ship season.
EPA Director, Mr Wes Ford said that the EPA had completed the installation of a monitoring station at Hobart Port to address public concern about air pollution from cruise ships visiting Hobart.
"The monitoring station has been installed and the live reporting system is now working to make sulphur dioxide data available to the public in real-time on the EPA website," said Mr Ford.
"Preliminary monitoring results in the Hobart Port area indicate that ambient levels of sulphur dioxide are well below the national and international air quality standards," he said.
"The real time sulphur dioxide levels in Hobart Port are available on the EPA website at www.epa.tas.gov.au/pages/Real-Time-Air-Quality-Data-for-Tasmania.aspx
"This ‘reference level’ monitoring station will continuously measure ambient levels of sulphur dioxide, and in the near future, oxides of nitrogen, which are the atmospheric emissions of greatest concern from cruise ships while at berth in Hobart.
"The EPA is also undertaking air dispersion modelling in the Hobart Port to estimate the potential impact of cruise ship air emissions on nearby population areas.
"This means that the EPA will be prepared to monitor data and gather information on the impact of cruise ship emissions for next summer’s cruise ship season," said Mr Ford.
Mr Ford clarified that although the EPA has an important role in monitoring ship’s air emissions, the current legislative responsibility and enforcement of that legislation remain with the Commonwealth. He said that Australia was a signatory to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), which sets limits on emissions of sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen.