Coal dust causes concern in the playground

13 August, 2012
Sydney Morning Herald

MORE than 23,000 students at about 60 Hunter schools within 500 metres of the region’s coal railway spend their lunchtimes breathing air filled with coal dust from passing trains.

Many also spend their days in classrooms without airconditioners or air filters to protect them from damaging particulates in the dust.

Singleton GP Dr Tuan Au has been investigating a link between open-cut mining operations and rising respiratory illness in his community and has thrown his support behind a campaign to put covers on the trains.

The Maitland-Newcastle Diocese Catholic Schools Office said two primary schools, St James in Muswellbrook and St Joseph’s Denman, had dust-monitoring devices. Precautions were also taken at St Catherine’s Catholic College in Singleton, where staff brought students indoors when it was windy or dusty.

”The Catholic Schools Office and its schools follow the advice of Hunter New England Health, however [they] are open to all initiatives that lead to cleaner air,” an office spokeswoman said.

A NSW Education Department spokesman said it had not been approached by any school raising coal dust as a health issue.

”The department and schools would co-operate with the health or environmental authorities if they saw schools as having a role to play,” he said. ”Any parents with concerns are advised to seek medical advice.”

The chief executive of the NSW Minerals Council, Stephen Galilee, said it was important to monitor air quality and establish the facts.

”We’re keeping a close eye on the progress of this work so we can develop the right response and implement better methods of dust suppression,” he said.

Dr Au said the longer children were exposed to pollution, the more lung damage was caused.

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One Response to Coal dust causes concern in the playground

  1. JACQUI KAY says:

    I am angry and upset for our water systems that may go with the current mining application. in the seventies and eighties it was a continuous miner method what is used now is that together with a monster machine that a will cause buildings on the surface to be affected, we have crumbled, cracked and even rebuilds . Please look at Google long wall mining horrors that will give you the complete picture in the USA one ton or tonne of coal per second the underground factory of separating it and washing it is immense the slurry left over where does it go ? how many aquafers go ? what are we left with ? Are they are also the earth ‘s cooling system ? is this causing our extreme weather conditions, did we have our first Tornado Qld ? is mining a possible cause ? Up Charlie Point Rd off Rockford Rd Tahmoor on the right is a huge build up of possible wash waste (not sure) looks like a mountain forming, I have a Liverpool Champion orinted copy showing rashes re CSG. Liverpool plains our food bowl BHP want to go there it appears. I have written several times to Jai Rowell on this subject and he passes it on to Hartcher I do not need to explain about him, now a new leak from Abbott Camp it looks like everything will be transferred to the top of Australia that he wants and I suspect if true we are the bottom half, will NSW be all mining ? I believe Liberals are the full support of Mining and not the people. The full history of BHP goes back to London per my book “Australia thru ‘ time “, Abbott has not long come back from London. We have people upset in the new homes of Gregory Hill, Currans Hill on to Denham Court it appears. I am so upset about this I have trouble sleeping at nights. We are also on a fault line tht tremored years ago and could go again I am so scared for us the people . This Government clearly is not for the people. These two horror industries that do not address our safety needs, words are not enough I belong to Avaaz. org they will take this cause for us to the PM and world wide they act on a petition with our assistance it is very good and their membership is far larger than any media. The world needs to know what is happening to us and throughout Australia, I did it and cancelled because I was worried about the wording and it asks for facebook and two others to add to impact. Mining has upset Brazil/Amazon, Guatemala killing ocurred from an objector, Bolivia said many died, people of Nigeria are affected, Mexico to the US huge oil spill and the list goes on it appears as our emotions are deeply affected and worried J Kay

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