Inner West Independent

Pollution data may be worthless

By Shami Sivasubramanian & Michael Koziol

Sydney Ports has warned that data collected by additional air quality monitors at the White Bay Cruise Terminal may be compromised.

The government body promised extra monitoring at or near residential properties close to the terminal, in response to complaints from residents about air and noise pollution.

But in an email to a resident seen by the Inner West Independent, Sydney Ports community relations manager Judith Peters said consultants had advised that interference from dwellings, trees and cars could call into question the measurements’ accuracy.

“These constraints may impact on the monitoring results,” she wrote.

“Despite these constraints, Sydney Ports still considers that there is value in monitoring in the proposed residential locations.”

Residents have demanded to see data from existing air quality monitors, but Ms Peters said Sydney Ports is “unable to provide this information at present”.

In response to questions from the Independent, Ports also clarified its position on the use of shore power at the terminal, saying it is investigating the viability of the technology. Shore power would allow ships to turn off their engines while docked at the terminal.

The adjustment in position follows a January 16 Independent article in which a spokesperson said shore power was “not being considered”.

“Sydney Ports is looking into the viability of shore power, as many responsible Australian ports are doing, but given its complexity, it is by no means an easy quick solution and we are not committing to this option in the short term,” a spokesperson said on Tuesday.

“There is also the fact that many cruise ships visiting White Bay are not equipped for shore power and no other port in Australia, or the southern hemisphere for that matter, is considering it.”

The Independent originally sought comment from the Minister for Roads and Ports, Duncan Gay, on whether the issue was being considered at a ministerial level. But Mr Gay’s office passed the request back to a Sydney Ports spokesperson.

The spokesperson said Ports takes community concerns seriously and has ordered targeted air-monitoring in streets close to the cruise terminal.

“The results of this additional testing should be available after February which is the peak month for the cruise season. It will then determine what, if any, action should be taken.”

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