Each winter, concern is expressed about the quantity of wood smoke in the Orange atmosphere, contributing significantly to atmospheric particle pollution, which has a detrimental affect on our health and wellbeing.
It is therefore encouraging that Orange City Council has accepted the offer from the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) to install and operate an air-quality monitoring station in Orange.
The station will be situated within Jaeger Reserve.
This site was determined as the preferred location by the OEH because it is located in the open air, within a 120-degree radius without obstructions that would inhibit or obstruct sampling.
The site is also regarded as being reasonably central and of an average elevation, which allows for a representative sample of Orange’s air quality.
Orange is set to benefit from having the unit in that the data provided can help raise awareness of the risks posed by particle pollution.
The information obtained from regular monitoring can allow those most vulnerable to poor air quality to take precautions on days when atmospheric pollution is problematic.
Most importantly, the air quality monitoring unit can provide data that can initiate changes of council policy over time which will enhance and improve the air that we breathe.
Orange’s air quality monitoring station will be part of the rural air quality monitoring network. Similar stations are being set up in 38 other regional centres to provide data on air quality which will be uploaded on an hourly basis to the OEH website, which is publicly accessible.
The site also provides information about what is being monitored, how it is being monitored, and an explanation of chemicals and pollutants that are found in atmospheric pollution.
Councillor Stephen Nugent, who is chair of the Orange City Council Environmentally Sustainability Committee, sees the installation of the air quality monitoring system as a great result for Orange, as the data it will provide information upon which council can make informed decisions on issues related to air quality.