Sydney reports high levels of pollution

February 23, 2006

The city of Sydney, Australia, is experiencing a smog-filed summer season as air pollution levels double and officials have issued 14 health warnings.

A Sydney Daily Telegraph investigation indicates the number of days since December with pollution levels above the health standard is twice that of last year and 75 percent worse than the previous summer.

Australia's Environment Protection Authority says the number of days of air pollution exceeding health limits is between five and 20 for the entire year. However, during the past three months, air pollutants on 14 days have been recorded at levels above health standards.

Government officials say the problem is due, in part, to the number of vehicles on Sydney's roads increasing by 60 percent in 20 years.

The newspaper said the government is expected to soon require all gasoline pumps utilize technology that would capture vapor and stop thousands of tons of pollution-causing chemicals from being released into the air.

More than 2,400 Australian deaths annually are linked to air quality and health issues.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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