Community group in Victoria Australia advocating for wood smoke free homes, and a self help group for neighbours of wood smoke polluters.
Concerned about wood smoke? If you can smell wood smoke then you should be concerned - see opinions from health experts on the health dangers of wood smoke below.
Unsure if you have a significant complaint because other neighbours are not complaining, or the people across the street are not complaining, or the polluter can not smell the smoke, or worried that you are just over sensitive? If you are closer to the flue and down wind then you likely have good reason to complain because immediate neighbours can experience smoke concentrations many times higher and more frequently than more distant neighbours, and the polluter may well have great air quality themselves. See the reports on wood smoke dispersal below.
Foreign to Australia and thinking that burning wood is just a local custom that you will have to endure? Wrong, Australian's stand for a fair go. Do not be afraid to complain for cultural reasons.
What can you do? The Victoria EPA might have some responsibility but they seem to be refusing to investigate domestic wood smoke complaints and they pass people on to their local council. Victorian councils have a responsibility under the nuisance provisions of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 so complaints can be made to your local council. Some Councils also have local laws to address the issue and are reported to use them such as Stonnington. Other Councils have local laws but refuse to use them such as it seems Monash:
If you continue to endure wood smoke pollution, that is if you can smell the smoke, then please consider contacting us. Documenting more cases can help build evidence that existing standards and laws and their implementation are inadequate. Vote for Councillors and State and Federal Ministers who are committed to standing up for your health and stopping wood smoke emissions where they are likely to disperse into your living area.
The health effects of wood smoke are organized below into a chain from:
- the pollutant emissions in wood smoke that are
- dispersed in the atmosphere creating a concentration of wood smoke that people can be exposed to resulting in doses of the toxic pollutants that
- have adverse health effects.
The changes in behaviour resulting from attempts to avoid the wood smoke, such as closing up a home to try and keep the high concentration peaks out, can also lead to higher exposure to other pollutants generated within the home from cooking etc creating another path leading to adverse health effects.