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Feature: Taking control of city air pollution (2)

By Tiffany Hoy (Xinhua)

20:42, February 25, 2013

In November's Energy White Paper 2012, Australia also made a strong financial commitment to capturing and storing carbon, expanding renewable energy, and creating a Clean Energy Finance Corporation to invest in clean, renewable and energy-efficient technology.

These federal directives are continuing Australia's strong history in air quality and pollution management.

In 1998, the federal government's National Environment Protection Measure for Ambient Air Quality (Air NEPM) set standards for six key air pollutants: carbon monoxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, lead and particles.

The Air NEPM, along with other legislation set by each state government, laid the groundwork for clearing Australia's air.

To meet the national standards, the New South Wales state government introduced a 25-year air quality management plan called Action For Air, which has now been running for ten years.

In Sydney, NSW's largest city, concentrations of many of the most dangerous pollutants have been reduced by 30 percent over these ten years -- despite the city's rapid population growth and the number of cars rising by nearly 60 percent over the past 20 years.

To achieve its goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent in the Sydney, Lower Hunter and Illawarra regions before 2050, NSW still needs to work on reducing ground-level ozone and particle pollution.

One of its heaviest sources of this kind of pollution is traffic fumes, a problem which China can relate to.

Motor vehicles are one of Australia's largest contributors to city air pollution: in Sydney, one of Australia's most traffic- congested cities, petrol-run passenger cars are responsible for more emissions than all other vehicles combined.

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