Air quality

Albury's air quality is monitored by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. A monitoring station located at Jelbart Park in Lavington monitors daily concentration of particulate matter in the air.

Particulate matter (also called particulate pollution or PM) is a term for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot or smoke are large or dark enough to be seen with the naked eye. Others are so small they can only be detected using an electronic microscope.

Particle pollution includes "inhalable coarse particles" with diameters larger than 2.5 micrometers and smaller than 10 micrometers, and also includes "fine particles" with diameters that are 2.5 micrometers and smaller. To visualise what 2.5 micrometers is, imagine a single hair from your head. The average human hair is about 70 micrometers in diameter, making it 30 times larger than the largest fine particle.

These particles come in many sizes and shapes and can be made up of hundreds of different chemicals. Some particles, known as 'primary particles' are emitted directly from a source. Others form in complicated reactions in the atmosphere, and these are known as 'secondary particles'.

There are many sources of particles in the air. Particles arise from both natural processes such as wild fires and dust storms, and also from truck emissions, industrial activities, solid fuel heaters used in homes, controlled burns, to mention a few.

There is also seasonal variation in the sources of particles in the air. For example, particle emissions from domestic wood heating is predominant in the cooler months of the year, while agricultural and hazard reduction burns largely contribute to particle emissions during autumn.

The National Environment Protection Measure for Ambient Air Quality sets a national health-based air quality standard for particles. This standard is different from an emission standard that is set by the NSW government through load-based licensing of industrial sources of emissions. The national air quality standard has been incorporated into the NSW air quality monitoring framework.

Further information