Welcome to Port Augusta’s independent air monitoring page – run by the community, for the community. Here you will find daily updates on the air quality in the town of Port Augusta. This device is continuously measuring the PM10 level in the air – these are very fine particles known to cause respiratory problems.
The World Health Organisation standard is 50 micrograms/cubic meter for the ‘24 hour Average’. If the monitor reads over this amount, it means that the air quality has peaked above the standard and the community will be alerted.
So, what’s the story?
Port Augusta, in South Australia, is striving to lead the transition towards renewable energy. It embraces renewable energy because there is no future in coal. But coal continues to pollute their town from beyond the grave. In 2016, the Alinta Energy company shut down its Flinders operations. Since the closure, piles of fly ash (a byproduct of burning coal) has been drifting over the town. Over New Year’s Eve, airborne coal dust became a crisis for the community when the suppressant keeping it down was washed away by heavy rain.
When the dust was at its worst, the community found itself left in the dark about the health impacts. There was a lack of independent air monitoring in the town and people weren’t satisfied with the slow response of government and authorities.
Since then, we’ve been working with the community and Port Augusta Council to install independent air monitoring equipment. It has come all the way from Greenpeace’s Laboratory at the University of Exeter, UK. This equipment has been used around the world to expose and monitor dangerous levels of air pollution – from London to Beijing. This will help put the control back in the hands of the community and ensure that the health of locals is put first over profit.
Follow the latest updates:
March 24 – We’re online!
Make sure you’re following @MonitorPort on Twitter and see below for regular updates.
March 21 – Installation Day
The air monitor is safely on the wall and appears to be working fine. We will run a test overnight just to make sure. Mitre 10 donated an extension cord. Cecilia from Airborne Research Australia, a doctor and former professor from Flinders Uni, oversaw the whole thing and was satisfied with the setup. All set for tomorrow’s launch (March 23) – lots of media expected. Stay tuned!
March 20 – Twitter Account Live
The Port Augusta Air Monitor has its own twitter! Here you will find daily updates on the air quality. This will be updated by the community and Greenpeace Australia Pacific. Follow @MonitorPort on twitter or simply watch the stream below.
Port Augusta residents are encouraged to help out. The device is placed outside of the Port Augusta Community Cinema. If you are interested in being involved in the data research, please email [email protected] (please only Port Augusta residents). This air monitoring device will be in place until the fly ash site is completely covered in topsoil. This device has been made possible by the community, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, and Port Augusta Council.
A special thank you to all the amazing people who helped install this device in Port Augusta. Special thanks to Michelle, Nicolette, Matt, Brad, Mayor Johnson, and the science department from Greenpeace International.
Watch the crowdfunding video here: