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AMA Victoria backs call for wood heater buyback

Updated: Jan 31, 2023

Arabella Daniels (pictured) lives in her suburban home in Melbourne nearby wood heaters. For Ms Daniels this means most days from early afternoon she and her family are forced to retreat indoors as smoke fills the air of their neighbourhood. Smoke from the heaters has been found to be one of the largest contributors to Melbourne's air pollution and, according to a 2017 paper from Victoria's Environment Protection Authority, was on track to cost the health system $8 billion by 2027.

The AMA Victoria president Julian Rait is advocating for a buy-back or subsidy program. We know that other health bodies such as the Lung Foundation and Asthma Australia would support the call. The comments at the end of the Age article provide a snapshot of public opinion on the issue, from those well informed of the health harms, to those who believe the popular but incorrect view that vehicle emissions are the largest source of air pollution. There are many comments from people with wood heaters who appear to firmly believe that the smoke from wood heater doesn't bother their neighbour or harm the health of their neighbourhood. These people have been convinced by the wood heater industry sales pitch that high-end expensive wood heaters such as the Norwegian Standard NS 3058/3059 produce no smoke. Like the Volkswagen emissions scandal the marketing of wood heaters has deceived many consumers that wood heaters are low emissions and 'green'.

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