RESEARCHERS at the University of New England have received funding from the Australian Research Council to investigate the effectiveness of several strategies for reducing wood smoke pollution in Armidale, NSW.
Don Hine, UNE’s Associate Professor and one of the chief investigators on the project, said in July and August last year, air particulate pollution in Armidale, exceeded the National Environmental Protection Measure advisory standard on 28 occasions, which indicated a strong need for such research.
Based at UNE and conducted by the University in partnership with Armidale Dumaresq Council, SmartBurn Australia, the Australian Home Heating Association and the Firewood Association of Australia, the three-year project will develop and evaluate a community-based social marketing campaign targeting Armidale residents.
It will also provide the first large-scale field test of SmartBurn, a small canister that can be placed in wood heaters to improve combustion and reduce particulate emissions.
The researchers will begin by conducting a series of focus group interviews with a broad cross-section of the local community to seek opinions about the perceived scale of the wood smoke pollution problem in Armidale, and the best way of managing the problem.
“At this initial stage of the project, we are particularly interested in speaking to members of the community who currently use wood heaters, or who have recently switched from wood to other types of heating systems,” Dr Hine said.
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