City pollution still a problem

LAUNCESTON'S smoke pollution levels rank well against the city's rural counterparts, according to Lung Foundation member and respiratory physician Jim Markos.

Longford residents experienced more than twice the number of days of increased smoke pollution levels than Launceston last winter.

Longford had 30 PM2.5 measurements above the national advisory reporting limit last year, as opposed to Launceston's 12.

The PM2.5 measurement system determines the amount of pollution in the air.

Dr Markos said there was plenty more Launcestonians could do to ensure pollution levels continued to decrease.

``Launceston is a lot better than it was 10 years ago, but there are days in winter when pollution levels are obviously high - you can see it and you can smell it,'' he said.

``At the end of the day, people need to keep warm. Some people would freeze without heating, but the smoke is a health hazzard.''

The rising cost of electricity will always play a role in heating decisions, according to Dr Markos.

But he has urged northerners to make a change and said only the minority of residents in the north use wood heating.

``You can choose not to smoke and avoid passive smoking, but if you are in the majority who don't use wood, the minority are affecting your health and everyone else's.

``Before next winter, think ahead and make a change. It's time for people to think very seriously.

``Don't get me wrong, these (Launceston and Longford) aren't bad places to live - they are great places to live, but there are challenges and we can do better.''