Grannies' anger at corridor of cancer
By MEL MARTIN
NOTHING makes this group of grandmothers more furious than when the health of their grandchildren is put at risk, and they see no greater health risk than a motorway zooming straight past seven local schools.
And while they call themselves Angry Grannies, don't go mistaking these ladies for busybodies.
Because with seven university degrees among them, and hours spent poring over research about the harm of fine particle pollution emitted by motor vehicles, they know what they're talking about.
"What we're concerned about is that 4000 children are going to school every day in schools that are right next to the proposed motorway, and everyone of us has grandchildren going to these schools," Arlene Hope said.
"You wouldn't allow your kids to sit on the side of the highway all day and breathe in the pollution, why allow them to sit in school and breathe it in all day?"
The 20-strong group of grandmothers from Corindi right through to Coffs Harbour have put together a 500-page submission for the Coffs Harbour Settlement Strategy to highlight the risks of what they call a 'cancer corridor for children'.
They intend on handing it to Federal Nationals member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker and to NSW Nationals member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser to forward to NSW Ministers for health, education and roads.
"Exhaust from petrol and diesel vehicles contain billions of invisible particles, so small they penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream," their submission reads.
"International studies link soot in diesel exhaust to lung cancer, cardio-pulmonary diseases and other causes of death.
"In addition, children living near busy roads are six to eight times more likely to develop leukaemia and other forms of cancer."
In fact, the World Health Organisation estimates that globally, fine particles kill 800,000 people every year.
An analysis of toxic air pollution has identified 19 per cent is caused by wood and waste consumptioncompared to 56 per cent coming from motor vehicles.
The group's submission high lights the short distance between the proposed highway and seven schools: Korora Public School, Corindi Public School, Mullaway Public School, Sandy Beach Public School, Woolgoolga High School, Christian Community School and Bishop Druitt College.
They also highlight the risk to children from school buses travelling along the highway.
"The NSW Department of Education is formulating a policy so that no new schools will be built near major roads," Margaret Murphy said.
"The RTA should have a similar policy and not build motorways next to schools. They're part of the same government."
The Angry Grannies want safety measures to be implemented on the highway immediately, and a plan for a freight corridor away from built-up areas, with independent researchers commissioned to find the best location.
"These children have the rest of their lives to live. They deserve a better future," Arlene said.
"Where is the responsibility to look after our children? How is the government protecting our grandchildren?
"That's why we're here. That's why we're angry. We want safety and clean air for our children."
If you are interested in putting your signature on the Angry Grannies' submission, call Arlene on 6656 0966 or Margaret on 6654 9211, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or murphm@big pond. net.au