Cruising for better air quality: Australian clean air submissions, issues, and recommendations

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Clean air remains an elusive and inequitable human right. Air pollution unnecessarily increases morbidity, mortality rates, and environmental degradation globally. This paper presents results from a content analysis of all (n=133) submissions to the 2019 New South Wales Government call for public feedback to its ‘Clean Air’ issues and action priorities. Findings show stakeholder agreement that air pollution’s regulation and measurement are problematic. Issue framing divulged stakeholder agendas, particularly for shipping industries, highlighted inconsistencies in government and industry regulations, and revealed mistrust and issue partiality. Science literacy, proximity to pollution source, socioeconomic status, and pollution visibility affected issue descriptions and recommendations. Cruise ships in Sydney Harbour received disproportionately high focus relative to their contribution to the shipping industry’s contribution to local air pollution. Government and health body submissions proposed public education, awareness raising, and personal action as key steps to avoid emission exposure. We argue such ‘deficit theory’ approaches are inadequate in light of international research evidencing pollution visibility and personal perception poorly reflect scientific air quality measures. To surpass Australian NIMBY approaches to air pollution, we propose adopting European international legislative reform to equitably enforce clean air ‘rights’ and actions across industries, governments, and communities, irrespective of stakeholder priorities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationE3S Web of Conferences
Subtitle of host publicationInternational Conference on Environment Pollution and Prevention (ICEPP 2019)
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2020
Event2019 7th International Conference on Environment Pollution and Prevention: ICEPP 2019 - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 18 Dec 201920 Dec 2019 (conference website) (statement of peer review)


Conference2019 7th International Conference on Environment Pollution and Prevention
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