Despite the fact that the Australian coal trade has moved on average 360 million tonnes of coal annually over the past 8 years, there has been very little research into the effects of coal in waterways and the ecosystems they support.
Although coal is a naturally occurring mineral, the chemical structure of coal often contains a range of nasty pollutants, including uranium, thorium, arsenic, mercury, lead and other elements that are also toxic at low concentrations. Although these issues are yet to be examined carefully there is some solid scientific basis for concern of coal chemically polluting our waterways.
A major threat posed by coal spills into water bodies is also the physical implications, with the simple presence of coal dust shown to cause ecological harm. Coal contaminated seawater can kill corals and slow down the growth rate of sea grass and fish. Coastal mangrove systems are also vulnerable with coal cover impairing the ability of the trees to photosynthesize, in turn affecting the food cycle and therefore the populations of various species that engage with these environments.
We're looking for a couple of volunteers to develop a submission on a discussion paper on environmental values and water quality guidelines for the Burdekin Catchment.
The Burdekin has the highest average annual volume of outflow into the Great Barrier Reef and as a result makes the largest contribution to the water quality of the reef. This discussion paper looks objectives that must be achieved in order to improve the sustainability of land use and protect the reef from impacts of land based activities.
If you have an interest in this issue then it would be great to hear from you so we can gather together a small team to work on parts of the submission. Training and qualifications aren't a necessary requirement. What we need are people who can read and comprehend a report then provide comments that reflect the environmental values of the community.
The Draft environmental values and water quality guidelines: Burdekin River Basin fresh and estuarine waters discussion paper can be found on the Queensland Government website along with a number of other discussion papers for catchments around Queensland. Submissions are due by the end of June so we need to make a start on this project soon.
The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection has offered to provide us with a one hour briefing on the issue on Tuesday 30 May from 3pm to 4pm or Wednesday 31 May from 9am to 10am.
If you are interested in coming to the briefing and/or helping with the submission, please contact Peter McCallum via email email@example.com
Tree clearing is destroying koala habitat so fast in South East Queensland that there may be no koalas left there in a couple of years. Here in Central Queensland trees are being destroyed at an alarming rate.
Some of our regional businesses have invested in rooftop solar energy and are reaping the rewards. Langfords Hotel, Porters Cannonvale, MacDonald & Murphy are among the businesses that are benefiting from solar installations.
Most businesses in Mackay use most of their electricity during daylight hours so solar is a great option. Large users of electricity are slugged with an extra tariff, called a demand charge, when they exceed a threshold average consumption per month. By installing solar they can reduce average consumption and avoid the extra tariff. Even small businesses can cut electricity bills to almost zero by installing solar.
It makes real economic sense for all businesses to consider renewable energy. The investment will pay for itself in five or six years and most installations are guaranteed for 20 years. There are many great environmental reasons to consider installing solar power but the economics alone should be enough to convince you. However there is a long way to go to make our businesses ecologically friendly.
Mackay Conservation Group supports a Queensland mining project worth at least $7.3 billion that has been approved by the state government and the mining companies involved have already committed to. Sound a bit weird? It’s not really, the project is mine rehabilitation.
The Queensland government currently holds over $7 billion in Financial Assurance to fund the clean-up of mines if mining companies fail. We estimate that that level of funding would easily create 2,000 direct jobs for ten years and many could commence today if rehabilitation was undertaken progressively rather than waiting until mining is completed. The reality is however that mining companies have been delaying mine rehabilitation and, in some cases, have no plan to rehabilitate land at all.
Across Queensland there are 220,000 hectares disturbed by mining operations but only 556 hectares that have been fully rehabilitated. Today, only one twelfth of mined land has had some rehabilitation work done. In 2006 that figure was one third.
The Queensland Government has recently issued two discussion papers on mine rehabilitation. They are the first of six papers that will be released for public comment in coming months. Mackay Conservation Group and Lock the Gate have been working on reforming the mine rehabilitation sector since 2015. We have raised questions about the extent and quality of rehabilitation in public and in private discussions with government, academics and the mining industry. The papers look at the method of funding bonds paid by mining companies and the way that rehabilitation is planned.
More than 1 million hectares of bush, forest and trees have likely been cleared since the Newman LNP Government let loose the bulldozers on Queensland.
In response, organisations including Mackay Conservation Group, WWF-Australia, the Wilderness Society and the Queensland Conservation Council have launched an alliance to end land clearing in the state.
“Queensland is in the midst of an environmental crisis from land clearing,” said Wilderness Society Queensland Campaign Manager Gemma Plesman.
“The Newman Government gutted land-clearing laws four years ago today but the explosion in land clearing had started beforehand when the LNP announced it would stop enforcing the laws.
“More than 1 million hectares of bush, forest and trees have likely been razed since the Newman LNP let loose the bulldozers on Queensland. Since 2013 nearly 300,000 hectares has been cleared in Queensland every year we have data; an area the size of the Gabba is bulldozed every three minutes.”
Queensland Conservation Council head Dr Tim Seelig said: “This is one million very good reasons to make our land clearing laws much better and more effective in protecting native wildlife.
“Today we are launching an alliance of organisations from across the state united in their efforts to stop this terrible destruction.
“Parliament needs to be given another opportunity to end Campbell Newman’s destructive legacy on land clearing. By strengthening tree clearing laws, we can protect wildlife and bushland and ensure a future for species such as the endangered koala.”Read more
We are asking members of the community to keep a close eye out for Tawny Coster butterflies (Acraea terpsicore). This is a newly arrived species from Asia - that, as far as we know, has made its way through southern Asia and down to the northern Territory in 2012. It’s anticipated spread across Australia has proved to be very rapid, averaging at more than 350 km per year, with this rate of spread quickening in pace.
In March of this year, they reached the east coast of Australia, including the cities Cairns and Townsville. Simultaneously, heading south and further inland with sightings recorded from Georgetown to Charters Towers and Longreach.Read more
Mackay Conservation Group is a member driven organisation. The monthly members meeting is your chance to meet other members and to have a say about how we work.
May 09, 2017 at 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Mackay Environment Centre
156 Wood St
Mackay, Qld 4740
Adani is actively hiding the truth about its coal-pollution of the Caley Valley Wetlands that occurred during Cyclone Debbie, says Mackay Conservation Group’s Coordinator who last week visited the area, accompanied by independent and government scientists and departmental staff, at the invitation of the office of the Queensland Environment Minister Mr Steven Miles.
Coordinator of the Mackay Conservation Group, Mr Peter McCallum said, “Last week we observed coal pollution in the sediment in the sensitive Caley Valley Wetlands, on the edge of the wetlands and on the floor of the wetlands, and in the area close to the spillway where the discharge occurred from the secondary settlement pond.
“Unfortunately, the site visit was very tightly managed by Adani and North Queensland Bulk Ports to stop us gathering photographic evidence, despite an assurance before the visit that we would be able to take photos and collect samples.
“NQBP staff told us on entry that we could not take photos, collect samples or leave the group to explore the site. They warned that if we breached these conditions we’d be immediately escorted off the site and deposited alone, on the side of the isolated Bruce Highway.Read more
Mackay Conservation Group, which last week joined government scientists on a site visit to Adani’s Abbot Point facility where it was evident Adani had allowed coal to pollute the sensitive Caley Valley wetlands during Cyclone Debbie, say the wholesale breach of Adani’s pollution license shows the company cannot be trusted to operate in Australia
Coordinator of the Mackay Conservation Group, Mr Peter McCallum said, “Even with a license to pollute in its back pocket, Adani has still managed to exceed the permitted discharge of contaminants by 800 per cent. This is one more sign Adani’s mine should not proceed
“This breach isn't a minor one. It's equivalent to driver travelling at over 300km/h in a school zone
“Adani have been found to be operating a coal terminal in a cyclone-prone area that cannot withstand a cyclone without risk of contaminating the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and the Caley Valley Wetlands.Read more