in the shadow of Australian industries are moving to test air quality
themselves. Rising community concerns regarding the ongoing adverse
impact on the environment and community health from industrial pollution
within Australia has led to the formation of community-based group AIR
CARE AUSTRALIA- an initiative of the Australian
National Bucket Brigade.
In 2006, residents
concerned about toxic emissions from the Shell Refinery in Geelong,
Victoria and the Alcoa plant at Wagerup, Western Australia,
recruited US environmentalist Denny Larson, executive director of
Global Community Monitor, to assist residents to monitor their local
Denny and program
director Ruth Breech were back in Australia to facilitate the “National
Bucket Brigade Training” in West Perth, 2-3 June, organised by
WA’s Yarloop Bucket Brigade,
a project of the Community Alliance for Positive Solutions Inc (CAPS).
involved teaching communities from all over Australia to use the low-cost
testing process Denny pioneered with environmental activist Erin Brockovich
and lawyer Ed Masry. This process, known as the Bucket,
has been approved by the US EPA, and all Bucket Brigade members are
trained in quality control and quality assurance.
Brigade” allows community residents to undertake their own testing
of air quality and to have the samples analysed by a US laboratory,
used by the world’s Bucket Brigade community and not linked to industry.
Once armed with the results of their testing, the communities are equipped
to take measures to hold the polluters accountable.
Bucket Brigade Training” involved community participants from all
over Australia, including Kwinana Progress Group, Midland Frogs, Alliance
for a Clean Environment, Townsville Bucket Brigade, Locals for Esperance
Development, Canning Melville Community Odour Action Group, Geelong
Community for Good Life, and Community Alliance for Positive Solutions
Inc. (CAPS, Yarloop).
was sponsored by the Department of Environment and Conservation (WA),
South West Catchment Council, Greens WA and the Australian Greens.
too long, governments around the world have undertaken air monitoring
in the wrong place, at the wrong time and with the wrong equipment.
Grassroots community participation aims to stop this practice,”
Mr Larson said.
need to have confidence in the results of air quality testing in order
to determine if their health is being affected. The best way to
do this is for local communities to be the driving force behind programs
monitoring air quality” he said.
AIR CARE AUSTRALIA,
will spearhead a collaborative effort between Australian communities,
industries and government that allows for the protection of the environment
and public health, preserves and improves the quality of life of citizens,
and allows truly sustainable development1 by Australian industry.
In line with
the principles of Community Right to Know, AIR CARE AUSTRALIA
recognise that participatory democracy must be the driving force behind
any community air monitoring program and must be funded by government.
AIR CARE AUSTRALIA
will work constructively with all stakeholders in order to:
- Prevent the impact
and exposure to pollution in Australian communities
- Establish a national
Community Engagement Process including a National Education Program
for air quality and monitoring
- Establish an open
and transparent process regarding all monitoring results
- Establish a new
community endorsed standard for air monitoring methods
- Establish new community
endorsed air quality standards for health and environment protection
- Ensure that air
monitoring programs involve the use of an independent laboratory with
results being provided by the laboratory directly to communities
- Work collaboratively
in an open and transparent process with communities and environment
groups to identify and resolve pollution concerns
information please contact: Cam Auxer (Yarloop) at 08 9733 5011 or 0409335011,
Sue McLean (Geelong) 0410 940 299 or Jane Bremmer (Perth) 0432041397.