There are 18 government-operated air quality monitoring sites located in various parts of Sydney, but none in Sutherland Shire and there are no plans to instal one.
The situation was debated by Sutherland Shire Council after Cr Diedree Steinwall (Labor) sought to have a letter written to the NSW Minister for the Environment and local state MPs requesting a permanent air quality monitoring station.
The motion said the equipment would provide residents and visitors with real time information on air quality and pollutant levels, including those associated with bushfire and hazard reductions burns.
Cr Steinwall also called for the council to continue to investigate opportunities to assist other agencies and institutions in the installation of mobile monitoring equipment and incorporate air quality considerations in the development of future council strategies, where relevant.
Liberal councillors succeeded in deferring the matter until a report by council officers indicating how air quality within the shire can be improved and monitored.
A spokesman for the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment told the Leader it "operates the most comprehensive air quality monitoring network in Australia, providing information on air quality in near real-time across the state".
"The network is continually reviewed and assessed," he said.
"The purpose of ambient air monitoring is to measure the air quality likely to be experienced by the general population in a region.
"The National Environment Protection Measure - Ambient Air Quality (AAQ NEPM), sets population-based requirements for ambient air quality monitoring.
"For the Sydney region, the number of monitoring stations required under the NEPM is approximately eight stations. The NSW air quality monitoring network exceeds this, with 18 monitoring stations across Sydney.
"These monitoring stations continuously measure particles (PM10, PM2.5), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and visibility.
"There is currently no plan to install air quality monitors in the Sutherland Shire. The department will consider the needs of the Sutherland Shire community in future reviews of the monitoring network."
Cr Steinwall told the Leader none of Sydney's air monitoring stations were close enough to provide accurate and real time data for shire residents.
"During the last bad bushfire season, council staff had to estimate air quality using information from the Campbelltown and Randwick stations before making any decisions about closing leisure centres."
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