Burning of rubbish on a property, whether on the ground or in an incinerator, is an offence under the Shire of Esperance's Health Local Laws (as amended October 2009). This creates a considerable smoke nuisance for neighbours, can be a fire hazard (particularly during the summer) and pollutes the air.
Dust and Sand Drift
The Shire of Esperance's Private Property Local Laws govern the practices of owners and occupiers of land to ensure that sand drift does not cause a nuisance. As this mainly occurs during development of the land, it is important to discuss your intentions with your neighbours.
'Sand' refers to any granular or particulate material consisting of small eroded fragments of rocks finer than gravel, and includes dust or organic matter.
Depending on the site conditions, cost and the time lapse prior to development, the following are some of the options that should be considered:
Odours and Smells
Odours in the environment can often be a nuisance to residents. When contacting the Shire regarding an odour nuisance, try and pin point where the odour is coming from so an investigation can be conducted quickly and efficiently.
Air quality issues emanating from the Esperance Port are outside the direct control of the Shire, and all such issues must be reported directly to the Esperance Port Authority on (08) 9072 3333 or via email at email@example.com.
Smoking in Enclosed Public Places
A smoking ban in all enclosed public places including pubs and clubs has been in place since July 2006. Smoking is only permitted in an area deemed to be a non-enclosed public place under the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act 2009. Appropriate signage must be displayed in the enclosed public place.
Second-hand smoke is deemed to be a significant health risk causing cancers and respiratory illnesses and this legislation will help to ensure this risk to the public is minimised.
Wood Smoke and Wood Heaters
Wood heaters are a large source of air pollution and contribute to the smoky haze often seen around Esperance during the winter months. This air pollution can have adverse health impacts on those with respiratory illness such as asthma. Home owners with wood heaters have a responsibility to ensure they are correctly operated to ensure minimal smoke is produced.
Follow these tips for correct wood heater operation:
Ensure only dry wood is burned as wet wood produces significantly more smoke and doesn't burn as well;
Do not burn any household waste or painted wood;
Ensure firewood is kept undercover to protect it from moisture;
Do not overload the wood heater with large logs as this will reduce air flow and cause more smoke;
Ensure your flue is cleaned annually as accumulation of soot reduces air flow;
Use the 'chimney checker' (see below) to check the amount of smoke produced outside. Smoke should only be visible for the first 10 to 20 minutes after starting;
Use plenty of kindling and small logs to ensure a hot fire is produced quickly as slow burning causes smoke. Add some newspaper above the fuel load to heat the flue to increase the draught – this will make the fire easier to start;
Always leave the air intake open for at least 20 minutes after lighting the fire and after refueling – fire requires oxygen to burn; and
By fitting a parallel rain excluder to the chimney (not a china men's cap) this will send smoke straight upwards rather than dispersing it outwards.
The Department of Environment and Conservations Halt the Haze - Wood Smoke brochure will provide you with more information and the 'chimney checker'.
Purchasing Heaters in Western Australia
The Department of Environment and Conservation has produced a range of fact sheets regarding the purchasing of heaters in Western Australia including: