Anglesea Residents Alarmed by Pollutants from Alcoa

Media Release

Monday 30th July, 2012

Anglesea residents and medical doctors alarmed by pollutants from coal mine. No level of safe exposure

Anglesea Air Action welcomes the government’s announcement of financial support to ensure the longevity of jobs at Alcoa’s Point Henry’s smelter until 2014.  However, given the proven risks to the health of residents due to inhalation of pollutants from Alcoa’s Anglesea coal mine and power station, government support must include assistance toward a transition of the power supply to Point Henry from brown coal to clean renewable energy.

As a medical doctor, parent and Anglesea resident, I am alarmed by a recent statement made by Dr Lynette Denison, Principal Scientist for Air Quality for the Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA). In 2011, a number of applications lodged with VCAT sought a review of the EPA’s decision to grant the works approval for the proposed Dual Gas Demonstration Project in Morwell. Corrs Chambers Westgarth acting on behalf of the EPA, requested Denison to prepare an expert report for the VCAT proceedings.

In her report, Dr Denison states, “epidemiological studies worldwide conclude that there is no safe level of exposure to sulphur dioxide SO2”.

The inhalation of Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) and particulates (fine dust) from coal mining is associated with increases in mortality due to respiratory causes, exacerbation of asthma, reduction in lung function and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.– Dr Jacinta Morahan. Anglesea Air Action, Mobile 0419357971,

“Pollution from coal affects all major body organ systems and contributes to the development of heart disease, cancer, stroke and chronic lower respiratory tract disease and asthma.  It interferes with lung development and increases the risk of heart attacks. Inhalation of airborne pollutants is particularly harmful for vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and children.” – Dr Merryn Redenbach, Doctors for the Environment, Australia.  Mobile 0407 825 046,

Added to our concerns about the health of our community, is the damage to the ecologically rich but fragile, heritage-listed heath land caused by Alcoa’s open cut mine which was recently given the green light to expand a further 300ha.Sonia Ivetac, Anglesea resident, Anglesea Air Action, Mobile 0425 748846

The Government’s recent $40 million rescue package, funded by taxpayers, is an opportunity for Alcoa to work with the local and broader Victorian community to transition to a cleaner, more stable, 21st century business model.  Rather than propping up an inefficient and out of date smelter with short-term fixes, we can transition to renewable energy and create lasting, sustainable employment for the region beyond 2014. Emily Lawrence, Anglesea resident, Mobile 0437168004,

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