MEDIA RELEASE Wednesday 16th March 2005
Greens call for urgent action over pollution at Childcare Centres
The Greens are calling for tough new rules to limit pollution at childcare centres. Recent controversy over a proposal to establish a childcare centre on a major road in a light industrial area in Fremantle has raised broader concerns over soil and air pollution levels at childcare centres.
In Western Australia there is increasing evidence that childcare centres are being established along main roads and on contaminated sites that have been subject to some level of clean up. As a result babies and toddlers are potentially being subjected to dangerous levels of pollutants at the most vulnerable stage in their development.
"It is not acceptable that children are spending long hours being exposed to vehicle emissions," said Lynn MacLaren, MLC, Greens spokesperson for Pollution and Air Quality.
Vehicle emissions are an array of chemicals including carcinogens such as benzene, diesel fumes and fine particulates, which cause respiratory diseases.
"We need new rules that prevent childcare facilities from being established in locations with poor air quality such as industrial estates, main roads and contaminated sites," Ms MacLaren stated.
Development approvals for childcare facilities have traditionally been left to local government authorities who lack the resources and expertise to investigate soil and air quality concerns.
"This matter must be addressed without delay," said Ms MacLaren. "We will be calling on the Minister for Community Development, who is responsible for the Early Years Strategy announced in December, to investigate the extent of the problem and assess air quality at current risk sites."
"The Governments Children First Agenda should include introducing strict new rules to ensure children are not placed in this situation again through poor planning decisions," she added.
Lynn MacLaren: (08) 9336 1991 / 0403 721 921. ###
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