State of the Air in Australia
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
© Commonwealth of Australia 2010
About this document
This report describes trends in ambient air quality in major urban and regional areas in Australia from 1999 to 2008. The purpose of the report is to provide a national assessment of air quality in Australia and to compare air quality across major cities and towns where monitoring takes place.
The report uses monitoring data collected by states and territories under the National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure (AAQ NEPM) and assesses air quality against the national standards and goals in the AAQ NEPM.
The AAQ NEPM sets ambient air quality standards for six pollutants, namely, carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), photochemical oxidants as ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2), lead (Pb) and particulate matter less than 10 µm in size (PM10). It also sets advisory reporting standards for fine particles less than 2.5 µm in size (PM2.5).
The AAQ NEPM also specifies a 10-year goal that by 2008 the standards for CO, NO2, O3 and SO2 can be exceeded on only one day per year, and the standard for PM10 can be exceeded on only five days per year.
In addition to standards and goals in the AAQ NEPM, the report also uses an air quality health index to predict the potential health risks associated with the measured levels of air pollution.