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Air quality is important to the health and wellbeing of all Victorians. Most air pollution comes from industry, motor vehicles and domestic wood burning.
Human health and wellbeing relies on the quality of our environment every day.
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Stormwater pollutants originate from many different sources, ranging from fuel and oil from our roads, to litter dropped on our streets and sediment from building sites. There are three main types of stormwater pollution:
Reduces the amount of light in the water available for plant growth, decreasing the supply of food for other organisms.
Can clog and damage sensitive tissues such as the gills of fish.
Can suffocate organisms that live on or in the bed of lakes and streams by forming thick deposits when the suspended material settles out.
An increase of nutrients in water stimulates growth of aquatic plants. This causes excessive growth of aquatic weeds and algae that may choke lakes and streams and lead to dramatic daily fluctuations in dissolved oxygen levels.
Oxygen is used up more quickly than it can diffuse into the water from the atmosphere. The resulting drop in oxygen levels may then kill fish and other aquatic organisms.
If all oxygen in the water is used up, can cause unpleasant odours.
Increased acidity damages plants and animals
Contain very high numbers of bacteria and viruses. Some of these organisms can cause illnesses, including hepatitis and gastroenteritis.
Can poison living organisms or damage their life processes.
Poison living organisms or damage their life processes in some other way.
Persist in the environment for a long time.
Gross pollutants (litter and debris)
Animals can eat and choke on this material.
Oils, detergents and shampoos (surfactants)
Highly toxic to fish and other aquatic life.
Increased water temperature
High temperatures are lethal to fish and other aquatic organisms.
Increased water temperatures stimulate the growth of nuisance plants and algae.
This and other effects can lead to decreased levels of dissolved oxygen, which can threaten other aquatic life.
Table modified from Table 1.1 in Urban stormwater best practice environmental management guidelines (published by CSIRO).
Page last updated on 6 Jul 2012