Why air quality is important

Air quality is a measure of the suitability of air for breathing by people, plants and animals. Each person needs approximately 13,000 litres of clean air per day.

Health impacts

Studies show that more people die each year from pollution related illnesses than from car accidents. Air pollution affects our health, particularly in children, older people and those with heart or respiratory conditions such as asthma.

Health effects of air pollution can include:

  • more frequent or more severe asthma attacks
  • worsened symptoms of emphysema and bronchitis
  • worsened symptoms of heart conditions including heart attacks
  • aggravated angina
  • premature death in very sensitive people
  • cancer
  • irritated eyes, nose, throat and lungs
  • coughing, wheezing and bronchial restriction.


In Brisbane we are lucky that we do not have the levels of pollution that create acid rain, as happens in some northern hemisphere areas. But it is possible some species of plants and animals may be sensitive to pollutants where levels are highest, for example near industries or major road sides. High pollution days may affect environmental amenity, with hazy skies and reduced visibility.

City's liveability and economy

Clean air is an important factor contributing to our healthy, subtropical, outdoor way of life that is rare for a large city.

Our clean air makes us stand out from other cities in the Asia-Pacific area as a liveable New World City

Clean air is good for our city’s economy:

  • we are less sick and more productive, with fewer medical bills
  • our urban amenity is more pleasant, leading to more vibrant city neighbourhoods where people want to spend their time and boost local economies.

Clean, healthy air is a key attribute that makes Brisbane an attractive place for tourists, students, investors and the more highly-skilled employees that Brisbane needs to grow our economy.

Last updated:7 May 2019