Wood Smoke Stories

Severe smoke pollution in Western Australia

I live in Bunbury in Western Australia. We have lived here for 35 years. Wood fire smoke has always been an issue here but lately it’s become increasingly more popular.

We have had 5 additional wood heaters installed within 50 metres of our property. The air quality at our home and property has now become a severe problem. There are just so many wood heaters that as soon as the wind eases off we are swamped with smoke.

We initially became aware of how severe the problem was in our home when our new air filter was generating multiple alarms of poor air quality. I then purchased an Atmotube Pro and began monitoring the air quality outside our home. The readings that I was getting were often horrendous. I went to my local shire council with my readings and they were dismissive of my device and the readings that I presented. I then purchased a PurpleAir sensor and started collecting even more data. I now use the Atmotube Pro to monitor readings inside our home. I can verify that poor air quality outside does make its way inside your home as per many articles state.

In an effort to improve the air quality inside our home we have replaced our windows at great personal cost and effort. I have also sealed up every possible gap that we could find. We also run a commercial grade air purifier night and day. Together with extreme diligence we have made significant improvements inside our home.

We do not open any windows during the heating season. We close doors as soon as possible. It also worth noting that briefly opening a door can cause a spike in the PM matter inside our home.

Sadly my wife was recently diagnosed with kidney cancer and has had a kidney removed as a result. So far it looks as though it was contained to one kidney. We honestly believe that this can be attributed to the PM issues here. She has none of the risk factors and has probably suffered due to early morning and evening walks when the air quality readings are at their worst.

People need to wake up. Wood heating is a total disaster. The emissions, the stink, the health impacts, the impact on our native forests and wildlife. It’s an endless list of problems. What are the rights of people who just want clean breathable air? This crazy obsession with wood heaters just makes no sense whatsoever.