Smoking out pollutants

Orange City Council has launched a new scheme aimed at reducing pollution from wood smoke by encouraging homeowners to replace outdated wood and solid fuel heaters.

The City Council is coordinating a NSW Government funded program that lets residents qualify for subsidies of up to $500, or $1,000 for pensioners, when they replace an old style solid fuel heater with another kind of heater.

Orange City Council’s Environmental & Economic Development Policy Committee Chair Councillor Neil Jones believes the ‘Stay Warm, Breathe Easy’ campaign is a good blend of educational resources and financial help that could make a major difference to wintertime pollution in Orange.

”By following simple steps like only using small logs of seasoned wood, burning several small logs rather than one large log and maintaining a bright flame, people can make a drastic reduction in the amount of pollution that comes from their wood fire.

“There’s a big difference too in the pollution that can come from old-fashioned wood burners compared to the modern heaters.”

Wood smoke contains a complex mixture of pollutants and toxins, mainly fine particles, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, benzene, xylene and formaldehyde.

A poorly operated wood heater or open fireplace can cause high levels of these pollutants around your home and neighbourhood putting children, the elderly and those who suffer from lung and heart conditions at risk.

Under the scheme, cash incentives are available for the replacement of solid fuel heaters that are used as the main source of heating and are in the main living area of a home. The replacement heating system, such as gas or electric, must be new and must adequately heat the same area as your existing solid fuel heater.

With the onset of cooler temperatures Orange City Council Environmental & Health staff are now on the lookout for houses in Orange where too much smoke is being produced.

Where a large amount of smoke can be seen from the street, leaflets are being left in letter- boxes outlining the benefits of the ‘Stay Warm, Breathe Easy’ campaign.