Resident wants to put a lid on dust pollution in Gladstone

Alan Jeffery an old time resident is angry about the local dust.
Alan Jeffery an old time resident is angry about the local dust. Brenda Strong

AS the debate over the dangers of coal dust blows up around the state, a Gladstone resident claims he has the solution.

Long-time local Allan Jeffery thinks coal dust from uncovered rail wagons, QAL and the Gladstone Port stockpiles have shot the liveability of Gladstone.

"It's soul destroying - instead of fishing or sailing I am forever cleaning, scrubbing and coughing," Mr Jeffery said.

He keeps his Toolooa St house locked up 24 hours a day and washes it down every fortnight.

"Coal dust is greasy and must be scrubbed off surfaces, unlike normal dust that can be brushed or hosed off surfaces," he said.

And he believes the unwelcome visitor isn't good for the lungs either.

"It's a problem that goes way back and after years and years everyone has given up," he said.

Mr Jeffery said the city was losing good people who moved to escape the dust.

"This just leaves the dumb buggers here," he said.

Gladstone Region Environmental Advisory Network chairman Col Chapman said coal dust was a big issue for residents.

And while efforts are being made by all involved to reduce coal dust blow-off, he said the problem remained with the empty rail wagons travelling through town.

"What we would like to see is for the wagons to be hosed off," he said.

But Mr Jeffery thinks putting lids on the coal train could be the real answer.

"Coal carrying rail encircles the entire town, but lids are an easy fix," he said.

However, Gladstone MP Liz Cunningham said she had not received complaints from residents about coal dust pollution in quite some time.

"I think the recent wet weather has contributed," Ms Cunningham said.

"There has also been less coal being carted. But a dry spell might bring it back into focus."

All sides of the debate are fronting a Senate inquiry, which was lobbied for by the Queensland Greens following concerns from a number of Queensland communities.

Topics:  coal dust gladstone gladstone ports corporation qal queensland greens

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