- Social impact of environmental issues
- Paperback / softback
- Publication Date:
- Penguin Australia Pty Ltd
- Dimensions (mm):
In February of 2014, the open-cut coalmine next to Hazelwood power station caught fire. It burned out of control for forty-five days – over 1000 hours. The town of Morwell, home to 14 000 people, is less than half a kilometre from Hazelwood mine. In the Latrobe Valley, over 100 000 people live within 20 kilometres of the mine. Choking smoke and toxic gases filled the Valley. Carcinogenic brown coal ash fell as far away as Warragul, 50 kilometres to the west, and Sale, 60 kilometres to the east.
The short-term health effects included stinging eyes, sore throats, headaches, difficulty breathing, chest pains,rashes, nausea, 'metallic taste in mouth', bleeding gums, bleeding noses, diarrhoea, vomiting, and eleven probable deaths. The medium- and long- term health effects remain to be seen. The mine fire was 'a world's first in terms of prolonged adverse air quality', according to the environment protection Authority Victoria.
Environment Victoria described the smoke as 'possibly the worst incident of environmental pollution in our
The fire was foreseeable. The disaster was preventable.
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