Increasing the number of trucks on Fremantle roads is killing kids and old people, say doctors and health experts.
Diesel particulate pollution is responsible for more than two per cent of deaths in Australia says Doctors for the Environment member George Crisp, with children and the elderly especially in the firing line.
As Fremantle plans to ramp up the number of trucks to and from the port, he will speak about the dangers at a transport and health forum organised by the Fremantle Road2Rail group at Victoria Hall today, Saturday August 17, from 4pm-6pm.
Road2Rail has campaigned for years to reduce the number of trucks barreling down High Street into Fremantle port.
“Diesel exhaust has been determined to be both a group one carcinogen and also has far higher levels of the small and ultra-fine particulate matter implicated in causing heart and vascular disease,” Dr Crisp says.
“Increasing the volume of traffic, heavy vehicles especially, in densely urban environments will worsen air pollution and is likely to significantly increase the rates of illness and death from asthma, heart disease, stroke and lung cancer.
“These health impacts are not being accounted for in the decision-making processes that determine transport choices”.
Shane Chambers from UWA’s school of physics will also speak. He says recent studies link the impacts of truck and traffic noise on deteriorating human health.
“In particular the detrimental effect of traffic noise on the cardiovascular system and an observed higher rate of early onset heart attack and strokes in those affected by exposure to sustained traffic noise.
“The planned High Street/ Leach highway project and the projected increase in container truck frequency will have a large and direct noise impact on the surrounding neighbourhoods.”
Socialist Alliance candidate for Fremantle Sam Wainwright and WA Greens senator Scott Ludlam will respond to speakers. Road2Rail convenor Barry Healy will talk about the cost of road trauma.
by BRENDAN FOSTER