Friends of the Upper Hunter hosting air quality meeting at Muswellbrook's Upper Hunter Conservatorium of Music

Smoke, which is currently contributing to poor air quality, covered Muswellbrook on Thursday due to the number of bushfires burning in NSW.
Smoke, which is currently contributing to poor air quality, covered Muswellbrook on Thursday due to the number of bushfires burning in NSW.

A COMMUNITY get-together at Singleton this week adopted a series of demands seeking action from the NSW Government to address chronic air pollution in the Hunter Valley.

And, a similar forum is planned at the Upper Hunter Conservatorium of Music in Muswellbrook on Tuesday, November 26.

Convened by the Friends of the Upper Hunter, the public gathering and air quality information session will start from 6pm.

NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) regional director Adam Gilligan will also be in attendance to listen to residents' grievances after the Hunter Valley Air Quality Network recorded 655 individual alerts for the region so far in 2019.

Meanwhile, Monday night's meeting heard from local representatives and Singleton GP Dr Bob Vickers about the deteriorating air quality in the area - and its effect on the health of people living in communities nearest to open cut coal mines.

Dr Vickers presented information about the number of deaths caused by air pollution in Singleton and the parts of the region worst affected.

About 50 residents attended and voiced their anger and frustration that the NSW Government was taking no action to protect local people.

"Air pollution is getting worse in Singleton and it is affecting people's health," Dr Vickers said.

"Close to 90 per cent of our coarse particle pollution comes from open cut coal mines.

"We're not going to improve this situation unless, and until, the state government makes the mines act."

The meeting unanimously adopted a series of demands and resolved to send them to NSW Government representatives, including the EPA and the Minister for the Environment, Matt Kean.

"The people of the Hunter Valley are being treated very shabbily by the ministers and public agencies that manage the environmental and health impacts of the mining industry," Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Georgina Woods said.

"The situation is intolerable and unacceptable.

"We'll be working with doctors and members of the community to send these demands to the government and we expect them to respond with swift action."