While PM2.5 was a particular problem during the mine fire, the National Pollutant Inventory shows that, under normal operation, the power stations in the Latrobe Valley are four of the five single largest emitters of PM2.5 in the entire country.
The Federal Department of the Environment, through the National Pollutant Inventory, explicitly says that for fine particulate matter, there is no threshold below which health effects do not occur.
This air pollution is a significant cost that is being borne by the community in the Latrobe Valley in the form of health impacts. By bearing this cost, the community is effectively subsidising the operation of the mines and power stations with their health.
Mine and power station operators should therefore be required to identify and implement measures that will reduce this air pollution. Electrostatic precipitators (ESP) are used to filter out fine particles before these are emitted from smoke stacks in power stations. These could be upgraded at each power station or replaced with the best available technology.