Brisbane air quality trends and challenges

Brisbane sits at the centre of the South East Queensland airshed, stretching from the Gold Coast to the southern Sunshine coast and inland to the Great Dividing Range. The surrounding mountains and islands create a natural basin that acts to contain and recirculate air pollutants within the airshed. Combined with our subtropical climate, this makes Brisbane conducive to the formation of ozone, or ‘smog’, if sources of pollutants are poorly managed.

Brisbane has very few days of high ozone due to successful pollution reduction strategies, however it remains high on Council’s watch-list because of its health impacts. Other priority pollutants for Council are nitrogen dioxide and particle pollution.

Nitrogen dioxide has shown a steady decline over the last 20 years, however, there may be hot-spots where the guidelines for this pollutant may be exceeded, for example close to busy roads or some industrial activities.

Particle pollutants do continue to exceed the guidelines occasionally in Brisbane, usually due to fire or dust storms, however local hot-spots may still occur close to busy roads or industries.

While the trends show a positive story, vigilance is needed to make sure Brisbane’s air remains clean in the face of the strong growth and increased population density expected in the region.

For more detailed information about Brisbane’s air quality trends, email the Air Quality team.

Last updated:7 May 2019