Health emergency declared

On Tuesday, May 16, council declared a Health Emergency in the city of Maribyrnong.

Jennifer Pittorino

A health emergency has been declared in Maribyrnong, due to the health impacts of air and noise pollution from heavy truck usage in the community.

In its meeting on Tuesday, May 16, Maribyrnong council voted unanimously to request the state government take proactive measures to reduce pollution.

Councillor Bernadette Thomas moved the motion and said that in addition to the existing curfews, truck numbers need to be reduced immediately.

“We have talked about this for a long time, now is the time to take a good hard look at the health impacts, it’s up to the state government to do that and reduce truck numbers,” she said.

“We know pollution from the trucks is having an impact on the health of our residents, the adolescent asthma rate is 50% higher than the state average, the inner west has a higher incidence of lung cancer than the general Australian population.”

“Plus our hospital admission rate is 70 per cent higher than the Australian average for people ages three to19,” she said.

The City of Maribyrnong experiences over eight million truck movements annually on residential streets as container trucks service the Port of Melbourne.

Council has asked the state government to take immediate action by monitoring and enforcing the current curfews and to immediately begin monitoring the health effects on Maribyrnong as a municipality.

Cr Jorge Jorquera said this is a perfect opportunity for the local government to stand with the community.

“The local government can take a strong stance to advocate for the community, they have been suffering and there is more than enough evidence showing the levels of pain,” he said.

The World Health Organisation said no amount of exposure to the chemicals being released from the heavy vehicles on the streets is safe.

Cr Simon Crawford said there is still a lot of work to be done and things immediately need to be changed in the community.

“We need to tackle this issue until we solve it, we need to accept that breathing in air pollution is not acceptable, we will not accept industry polluting in the air we breath,” he said.