Monday, November 20, 2017

Trees and Asthma

"A new study from the University of Exeter has found … that in heavily polluted neighbourhood(s) an increased number of trees actually reduced the amount of people who were admitted to hospital with asthma attacks."

"… the study looked at over 650,000 serious asthma attacks over a 15 year period. It then compared emergency hospitalisations across 26,000 urban neighbourhoods in England."

"In the worst polluted areas the data was loud and clear – trees made all the difference."

"… Dr Ian Alcock, research fellow at the University of Exeter's Medical School … We know that trees remove the air pollutants which can bring on asthma attacks, but in some situations they can also cause localised build-ups of particulates by preventing their dispersion by wind.

What they found however was that despite these concerns, the increased vegetation did significantly more good than harm."

"The team hope that their findings can help inform local councils in their urban planning policies – creating environments that balance each other out and ultimately result in a space that prioritises air quality."

Links to more reading on the topic Trees and Air Pollution:-

Monday, October 30, 2017

Drouin Bird Count

FoDT recently conducted their October Bird Count.
Some highlights included ...
  • Total of 50 species, (11 sites in and around Drouin were visited).
  • Sacred Kingfishers at Bellbird Park, (above).
  • Nesting White-faced Herons at Crystal Waters and Picnic Point, (below).

  • A large, (raptor?) stick nest part way up the communications tower at Bellbird Park, (above).
  • Red-browed Finches nesting at Thornell's Reserve and Bellbird Park.
  • Pink-eared Ducks on McNeilly Wetlands.
  • Spotted Harrier in Pryor Rd.

The urban avifauna of Drouin is doing quite well. How lucky are we?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

On Which Side of the Street ...

Wood St
Armstrong Ave
Drouin at present is undergoing a street-tree pruning program. The trees that grow under powerlines are being 'reduced in height' for safety reasons – understandably. There is some debate in the community however, about how excessive or how sensitive the pruning has been in some cases. 

While developers of new estates in Victoria are required to put new infrastructure underground, most older or longer established residential areas are still supplied electricity by, in some cases, an ageing overhead power line system.

I had a haircut like this once, when I fell asleep in the barbers chair!
Same species, same age, different side of the street

In 1997, a report to the Parliament of Australia suggested that to put all existing overhead power lines in the country underground would conservatively cost $50 billion! It's just not going to happen in 2017, despite advances in directional drilling techniques, etc.

The above report also highlighted the improved property values that are achieved when overhead power lines are replaced with underground cables.

Energex, the South-east Queensland electricity distributor, has produced an interesting cost/benefit analysis of putting cables underground versus overhead on poles – can you guess which side of the argument they come down on – "Most of our high voltage transmission lines are built overhead due to costs, ease of repairs and environmental considerations".

The debate continues.