Council halts all outdoor activity due to hazardous air quality

Blacktown City Council has halted all outdoor work, closed its outdoor swimming pools and sporting fields, cancelled all Council outdoor events and directed its child care centres to cease outdoor activities due to hazardous air quality.

Blacktown City Mayor Tony Bleasdale said; “The high temperatures over the next few days and the return of bushfire smoke into the Sydney basin has created a situation where the air quality is now officially rated as Hazardous.

“In fact the air quality in Blacktown and surrounding areas is at the extreme level of the ‘Hazardous’ rating, resulting in Council taking these drastic measures to curtail as much outdoor activity as possible.

“Blacktown City Council has a legal and moral obligation to protect the health of our workers, visitors and customers.

“North westerly winds are expected to push more bushfire smoke into Western Sydney and the Rural Fire Service has issued a Catastrophic warning for the Sydney area, in addition to the total state-wide fire ban.

“Yesterday Council closed Nurragingy Reserve at Doonside and today we have closed all Council outdoor venues including the Blacktown International Sportspark complex, outdoor pools, and sporting venues. We have also told our childcare centres to keep the children inside.” Mayor Bleasdale said.

Background:

Blacktown City Council has instituted a new set of procedures to manage the risks associated with hazardous air quality based on a series of escalating actions relating to outdoor work and activities.

The scale of those actions is determined by the State Government’s Air Quality Index (AQI). There are 3 air quality monitoring locations in or near Blacktown City at Prospect, Rouse Hill and St Marys.

Council implements a series of actions and procedures based on the AQI rating.

When Air Quality is rated at Poor: Council advises those workers and residents who suffer from asthma-like conditions to cut back or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities and that child care centres should limit outdoor activities.

When Air Quality is rated at Very Poor: Council advises everyone to cut back or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities and for people who are normally affected by air quality issues to totally avoid such issues.

Council insists that its workers who are normally affected by air quality must wear P2 masks when the air quality is rated Very Poor.

At the rating, Council directs its child care centres to cease any outdoors activities, closes its outdoor pools and cancels all outdoor Council events.

When the Air Quality is rated Hazardous: those people sensitive to air quality issues should avoid all outdoor physical activities and everyone should cut back on outdoor physical activities.

Council insists that all outdoor workers wear P2 masks when Air Quality is rated at Hazardous, closes all outdoor venues including sporting fields and outdoor pools.

Council directs its child care centres to cease any outdoors activities and if the AQI goes above 300, all outdoor work will cease.

The full table of AQI recommendations and Blacktown City Council’s actions can be found here.(PDF, 42KB)

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