CSIRO, May 2008
- Particles, Ozone and Air Toxic Levels in Rural Communities during Prescribed Burning Seasons (PDF - 4,348 KB) | (RTF - 23,703 KB)
Information on air quality in rural Australia is sparse. While smoke from biomass burning such as the prescribed burning of forests, wildfires and stubble burning is often blamed as the major source of air pollution in regional centres, there is little data on the significance of its impact. This study monitored air pollutants at 4 sites in rural Australia between 2006 and 2008. Fine particle concentration (PM2.5), ozone (O3) and BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene) were monitored for 12 months at Manjimup WA, Ovens VIC, and Casuarina NT. PM10 was monitored at Wagga Wagga, NSW.
The specific issues addressed in the study were:
- The seasonal exposure of rural population centres (defined as centres outside the State capital cities with more than 1000 residents) to priority air pollutants resulting from prescribed burning or agricultural waste burning activities.
- The contribution of emissions from prescribed burning to ambient ozone concentrations experienced by these communities; and
- The extent to which ambient pollutants from prescribed burning penetrate into houses and, hence, the potential impact of smoke on the total (ambient and in-door) exposure levels of the resident population.