Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Air - NSW overview

Air Emissions Inventory for the Greater Metropolitan Region in NSW

Why do we need an air emissions inventory?

Air pollution comes from many sources, so to find the best ways to improve air quality we need to know the contribution made by each source. The last air emissions inventory for NSW was completed in 2007 (2003 Calendar Year Air Emissions Inventory) and although that data has served us well until now, emissions have changed, making it necessary for a new inventory.

The major task of developing the new inventory started in 2009 and took over 2 years to complete. The results are now available (2008 Calendar Year Air Emissions Inventory) and are being used to shape the way we improve air quality in NSW.

What is the air emissions inventory?

The air emissions inventory is a detailed listing of pollutants discharged into the atmosphere by each source type during a given time period and at a specific location. The study area covers 57,330 km2, which includes the greater Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong regions, known collectively as the Greater Metropolitan Region (GMR). Figure 1 (Figure107335.pdf, 210KB) shows the GMR, Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong regions. About 75% of the NSW population resides in the GMR.

The inventory includes emissions from biogenic (i.e. natural and living), geogenic (i.e. natural non-living) and anthropogenic (i.e. human-made) sources, as follows:

  • natural (e.g. bushfires, marine aerosols and vegetation)
  • commercial businesses (e.g. non-EPA licensed printers, quarries and service stations)
  • domestic activities (e.g. residential lawn mowing, portable fuel containers and wood heaters)
  • industrial premises (e.g. EPA-licensed coal mines, oil refineries and power stations)
  • off-road vehicles and equipment (e.g. dump trucks, bulldozers and marine vessels)
  • on-road transport (e.g. registered buses, cars and trucks).

The inventory includes over 850 air pollutants, including:

  • common pollutants, such as ammonia, carbon monoxide (CO), lead, oxides of nitrogen (NOx), particulate matter ≤ 10 μm (PM10), particulate matter ≤ 2.5 μm (PM2.5), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and total volatile organic compounds (VOC)
  • organic compounds, such as 1,3-butadiene, benzene and formaldehyde
  • metals, such as cadmium, manganese and nickel
  • PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), PCDD (polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins) and PCDF (polychlorinated dibenzofurans)
  • greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide).

Air emissions data can be presented either for the GMR, Sydney, Newcastle or Wollongong regions, or each of the 64 local government areas (LGAs) within the GMR. Emissions vary by month, weekday/weekend day and hour of the day, and can be presented on an annual, monthly, daily or hourly basis.

Where can I obtain additional information and data?

The air emissions inventory information and data are available in a number of ways, ranging from a relatively simple brochure through to specialised queries from the Emissions Data Management System (EDMS).

Detailed information about activity data, emission estimation methodologies, sources and emissions of all air pollutants included in the inventory are presented in the technical reports and Excel workbooks. Where relevant, the Executive Summary and Appendices from each of the technical reports is provided as a separate document.

The hierarchy of inventory information and data that are available is listed in Table 1, along with the intended target audience. 

Table 1: Air emissions inventory information and data

Air emissions inventory information and data

Intended target audience

Brochure*

General public

Air Emissions in My Community web tool*

 

Arrow

 

Excel workbook*

Technical reports*

Specialised queries from the Emissions Data Management System (EDMS)#

Technical expert

*You can view or download the information and data as follows:

#For specialised queries from the Emissions Data Management System (EDMS) or other inventory information and data requests, please contact the EPA Major Air Projects unit at air.majorprojects@environment.nsw.gov.au.

Page last updated: 16 December 2013