The Port Stakeholder Working Group (PSWG) has released a online tool to provide easily understandable information about air quality and operations around Townsville Port.

PSWG developed the monthly Operations Data Dashboard, which it believes is the first of its kind for an Australian port.

PSWG Independent Chair David Donohue said the dashboard represented the culmination of 15 months of solid work from the group.

“It was clear when we started this task that the community wanted more information and reassurance about air quality in Townsville.”

Mr Donohue said the PSWG members had met monthly since April 2015 to try to understand the often complex issues involved and to design a way to simplify the information for public consumption.

“This dashboard is the culmination of the PSWG’s work so far and a tool that we believe will provide the local community with the knowledge and data that they were seeking.

“I congratulate the members of the PSWG for their efforts to produce this tool and thank them for their dedication to the task over the past year.”

The Operations Data Dashboard presents information on:

  • The purpose of the PSWG
  • The type of equipment used to measure air quality in Townsville and who is measuring
  • Cargo types handled at the Townsville Port
  • Access to live air quality readings from the XACT Monitor at the CoastGuard
  • Monthly data graphs from three monitoring sites showing  
    • General total dust levels  
    • Lead in dust levels  
    • General dust deposition levels  
  • Shipping data (vessel type, commodity, date, berth visited) both retrospective and on a live schedule
  • Climatic data from the Bureau of Meteorology  

The Operations Data Dashboard will be distributed during the last week of each month (containing data for the previous month).

Mr Donohue said, “The PSWG will continue to meet monthly and are looking forward to reviewing the Dashboard’s progress after listening to the community’s feedback.

“It will be an evolving tool that may change over time as the PSWG reviews its effectiveness and we find ways to improve its functionality and relevance.”

The PSWG said it looks forward to the Queensland Government continuing to enhance environmental monitoring in Townsville.

Established in April 2015, PSWG was established to provide a forum for ongoing engagement between Port of Townsville Limited (POTL) and port operators and key stakeholders.

Since its foundation, the PSWG has supported the introduction of more sensitive and responsive monitoring through an XACT Air Quality Monitor at the downwind boundary of the port.

Previously, government air quality monitoring around the port had been limited to equipment that took a 24 hour sample once every six days. The sample then required several months of analysis before a result was known and published.

While this allowed regulatory compliance to be monitored, it did not provide an ability to respond
quickly to changes in monitored levels or seek to correlate changing wind speeds and directions, nor which activities could potentially be impacting on air quality.

The data dashboard draws on that data, adds shipping activity, wind and climatic data along with explanatory and background material to allow anyone with an interest to keep track of lead and dust emissions.

View the dashbaord on the Port of Townsville website.

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