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Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Air - NSW overview

What you can do about particle pollution

Actions to reduce particle emissions in regional areas

There are actions you can take to reduce particle emissions and improve your local air quality. They include:

  • consider heating alternatives to wood heaters - for people who suffer from asthma, the Asthma Foundation provides information on possible asthma-friendly heating options
  • if you do use a wood heater, follow these tips for better wood heater operation
  • avoid using leaf blowers and other types of equipment that raise a lot of dust - use a rake or broom instead
  • drive slowly on unpaved roads
  • follow the tips on Let’s Clear the Air to reduce particle emissions from diesel vehicles
  • follow agricultural practices that manage dust from crop preparation and harvesting.

Actions to reduce exposure to particles in regional areas

You can reduce your exposure to particulate pollution and possible impacts on your health. The actions you can take may vary, depending upon the source of the particulate matter. NSW Health suggests what you can do to protect the health of your children, yourself, older people or pregnant women from the impacts of air pollution.

Avoiding dust

The dust storms factsheet produced by NSW Health outlines the risks a dust storm can pose to your health and the precautions you can take to protect yourself and minimise any adverse effects.

Minimising the adverse effects of smoke

NSW Health’s bushfire smoke fact sheet details the health precautions you can take to minimise the adverse effects of smoke from bushfire and hazard reduction burning. The Asthma Foundation NSW outlines precautions people with asthma and other respiratory conditions can take when there are bushfires or hazard reduction burns.

Minimising woodsmoke and its effects

Woodsmoke – resources for councils and other local authorities describes the causes of excessive woodsmoke and offers tips for better wood heater operation. The woodsmoke from wood-fired home heaters fact sheet details health effects and precautions you can take.

Use the Air Quality Index (AQI)

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is an index for reporting daily air quality. It indicates how clean or polluted the air is and is updated hourly. The AQI uses a colour-coded system to show when air quality is dangerous or safe.

You can use the AQI to reduce your risk of exposure to particle pollution, especially if you are sensitive to it, by checking its level at any time. NSW Health provides more information on the AQI and recommends actions to take when the AQI reaches certain levels.

More information

Page last updated: 18 June 2013