Sydney air pollution: Calls for people to protect their health and politicians to act on climate

Tuesday 10 December 2019

With 'hazardous' air pollution from bushfire smoke blanketing Sydney, Executive Director of the Climate and Health Alliance Fiona Armstrong today called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to act swiftly to reduce emissions to help protect our climate and our health.

View from a Sydney office on Tues 10 Dec 2019

"Climate change is a health emergency, and the hazardous air pollution from the New South Wales bushfires is one of the ways people's health is being harmed by climate change right now," Ms Armstrong said.

"With Sydney blanketed in bushfire smoke, people in Sydney are encouraged to stay indoors where possible and avoid exercise, particularly people with underlying heart or respiratory conditions.

"However, the conditions in Sydney are so bad that ferries have been cancelled, alarms are ringing throughout the city and some buildings are being evacuated, sending people outdoors directly into this hazardous air pollution.

"There's only so much members of the public can do to manage their health when conditions are this poor.

"This moment calls for political leadership. All of our political leaders must acknowledge the health and environmental emergency of climate change, and step up and commit to urgent climate action by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in line with what the science demands.

“We also need further investment in primary healthcare services and emergency departments to respond to increasing demand.

"Worsening climate change will mean we are more likely to see more and worse bushfires and 'hazardous' levels of air pollution from bushfire smoke.

"Unless we act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we'll continue to literally pour fuel on the fire.

"We call on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to act swiftly on climate to protect our climate and our health."

Media contact: Adam Pulford 0424 885 387 OR Fiona Armstrong 0438 900 005