The enemy of clean air is particulate matter (or particulate pollution). It’s a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets. Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot and 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.
These particles come in many sizes and shapes and can contain hundreds of different chemicals.
‘Inhalable coarse particles’ have diameters larger than 2.5 micrometers and smaller than 10 micrometers, and ‘fine particles’ have diameters 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.
Where particulate pollution comes from
There are many sources of particles in the air. They come from natural processes such as wild fires and dust storms as well as from things like truck emissions, industry, solid fuel heaters used in homes, and controlled burns.
As anyone who suffers from asthma or allergies knows, there are seasonal variations. For example, particle emissions from domestic wood heating are predominant in the cooler months, while agricultural and hazard reduction burns contribute heavily to particle emissions in autumn.
What we’re doing to improve air quality
We regulate vegetation burning locally through our Controlled Burning Policy and Procedure. This encourages recycling and suitable land disposal instead of burning, especially in urban areas.
AlburyCity is responsible for complaints about air pollution that relate to industries or facilities that are not covered by the Act.
We’re also responsible for regulating and managing vegetation burn-offs that can contribute to air pollution. Our Controlled Burning Policy sets out a permit process and procedures for burning.
What you can do to improve air quality
The most important thing you can do about reducing particulate pollution is to comply with our Controlled Burning Policy and Procedure, minimise smoke from any controlled burning you do, and reduce the amount of smoke from your wood heater.
Smoke from wood heaters can pollute the air and cause health problems. To prevent your wood heater creating excessive smoke, follow these simple tips:
- burn on dry, seasoned and untreated wood
- get a hot fire going quickly with plenty of paper and small kindling
- keep the fire burning brightly
- don't overload your wood heater with too much wood
- have your flue professionally checked and cleaned regularly