With no end in sight to the hazardous bushfire smoke blanketing NSW and an increase in respiratory-related emergency department presentations, Greens MP and Health spokesperson Cate Faehrmann has written to the Health Minister Brad Hazzard asking him to do more to protect people’s health, including by urgently distributing free face masks.
“The Government seems to be asleep at the wheel when it comes to warning people about how to stay safe in this hazardous air. They’re not doing anywhere near enough to protect our health,” said Cate Faehrmann.
“NSW Health should urgently distribute free P2 masks to pharmacies and health clinics across NSW and set up air quality information booths at shopping centres to make sure people are aware of the risks they face.
“It’s negligent of the Government to not be taking proactive measures like these when emergency department presentations for respiratory problems are spiking and the AMA is warning that even healthy people are now at risk from the impacts of bushfire smoke.
“People who are particularly sensitive to bad air quality, such as the elderly, pregnant women and children should be wearing masks outside when the air quality gets this bad. The EPA’s website has some parts of Sydney’s air quality as hazardous yet the Government is still not doing enough to ensure people wear masks.
“People with existing conditions are seeing their health degrade as a result of bushfire smoke while those with undiagnosed asthma often don’t even realise that they are at risk.
“NSW Health should also be providing air purifiers for vulnerable people so they can have some relief while indoors. Most houses just aren’t sealed well enough to prevent the indoor quality getting almost as bad as outside,” said Cate Faehrmann.
Contact: Jacob Miller: 0428 837 292
Letter to the Hon. Brad Hazzard: