1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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Daily peak sulphur dioxide(a)
Graph Image for Daily peak sulphur dioxide(a)

Footnote(s): (a) The National Environment Protection Measure (NEPM) standard maximum concentration for one-hour sulfur dioxide (SO2) is 0.2 parts per million, allowable one day a year. The graph shows the number of days in which exceedances occurred, not total number of exceedances per year (as there may be more than one exceedance per day). (b) 2003 was the first year complete data was available for Port Pirie.

Source(s): Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management by request; South Australia Environment Protection Authority by request.


Emissions of sulphur dioxide are primarily from industrial operations where fuels such as coal, oil and gas are burned. Sulphur dioxide is also emitted by vehicles. It can irritate the nose, throat and airways, and people with asthma or similar conditions are at risk of exacerbating these existing health problems.

In rural and regional Australia, levels of most air pollutants are generally well below the prescribed standards. However, sulphur dioxide levels are an air quality issue in some mining areas of Australia, in particular, in Port Pirie (in South Australia) and Mount Isa (in Queensland). For example, in Port Pirie, the number of days for which the prescribed standards were exceeded was 39 days in 2004. In 2002 and 2005, Mount Isa had 49 days of exceedance.

Other mining areas, such as Kalgoorlie and Kwinana in Western Australia, have reduced their sulphur dioxide levels since the early 1990s and have recently been meeting the National Environment Protection Measure (NEPM) standard (WAEPA 2007).


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