Whats in the air tonight

burning log on fire

Our plane touched down just as the sun set over the Brindabella Ranges. It was good to be back in the bush capital after walking in Nepal.

Disembarking, our lungs filled with crystal clean air. It was so refreshing. It was invigorating.
Nestled at the foot of the Himalayas, Kathmandu resides within a valley. It was said that not that long ago you could see these majestic mountains from this ancient city. Today, that is a far cry from reality.

With over a million people calling Kathmandu home, basic infrastructure has not been able to keep pace with population pressure. Air pollution is one result. The city is choking. Sadly, with smog billowing in from the Indian sub-continent, Kathmandu is one of the most polluted cities in the world.

The adverse influence, the touch of the human hand, the cause. Air pollution the result.
Living here in our beautiful bush capital, clean, fresh air is something that we merely take for granted. International experiences would suggest we do so at our peril.

This year’s World Environment Day theme revolves around air pollution. By thinking globally, acting locally we can make a real difference, can raise awareness, can address air pollution.
While Canberra’s air quality is the envy of other capital cities, during our long winters we experience increased pollution from our wood-fire emissions. The Tuggeranong Valley in particular is susceptible, vulnerable to wood smoke pollution.

The Burn Right Tonight Campaign is designed to promote the effective use of wood heaters as a means of minimising this air pollution. By using our wood heaters correctly, we can keep our homes toasty warm while saving money and, importantly, helping our environment.

Only use dry, well-seasoned, untreated wood. When starting your fire, always have the air control fully open and use plenty of kindling to start a hot fire quickly. Don't let your fire smoulder overnight—keep the air control open enough to maintain a flame. A fire set on low causes excessive smoke pollution. By following these simple steps, you can make a tangible difference to the quality of air we all breathe.

To protect the environment and use a more efficient form of heating, you can receive up to $1250 by replacing a wood fire heater, visit www.actsmart.act.gov.au

If you are looking to get hands-on with this year’s World Environment Day festivities, why not join us on Wednesday 5 June from midday at City Walk? Be inspired to recycle, reduce your waste, use public transport and find out how you can get involved in protecting the unique natural qualities of our beautiful bush capital.

Brett Mac

Brett McNamara - Regional Manager with ACT Parks & Conservation Service

Brett loves our national parks almost as much as the Gang-gang on his uniform. He is prone to using the word 'majestic' when referring to the bush capital. He loves talking. A lot. His favourite animal is the playful platypus.

Article also appeared in The Chronicle