The toxic legacy of bushfires

Posted on: Fri 16 Oct 2020

We know that forests absorb carbon dioxide, but, like a sponge, they also soak up years of pollutants from human activity. However when bushfires strike, these pollutants are re-released into the air with the smoke and ash.

New research has examined air samples from four major bushfires near Sydney between 1984 and 2004 to determine the extent of pollutant release. To discuss the findings, Barometer’s Des Lawrence spoke to one of the researchers, Dr Cynthia Isley, Research Fellow in Environmental Science at Macquarie University.

Our toxic legacy: bushfires release decades of pollutants absorbed by forests

Produced by Des Lawrence

Image: CSIRO


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