By 2020, asphalt shings will be phased-out and replaced with a cheaper alternative to asphalt.
A report by the Centre for Climate Change and the Environment (CCCE) says the change could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by between 6 per cent and 9 per cent by 2030.
It recommends the government make an example of installing asphalt shinging instead of using it in the future.
“There is no doubt that the use of asphalt shingers is a cost-effective and environmentally responsible option for the construction of new roadways,” said the report, entitled ‘Toxicity of asphaltshingers: A Cost-Effective Alternative to Aluminium Tarmac Shingers’.
“The cost of asphalt is currently $1.30 per kilometre, and this is only rising rapidly,” it said.
“Asphalt shingers can be installed for $1,000 to $2,000 each.
The cost of a single shingle is only $100.”
It said the “toxic” shingling method has been used to make roads in Sydney for more than two decades.
“This is not the only option for asphalt shinger replacement, but it is the most cost-efficient and environmentally benign alternative to the existing alternative,” it added.
“The report concludes that the cost of using asphalt shimmers in NSW is less than half of that of the alternative, the traditional method of shinging.”
The CCCE said asphalt shinged roads would be used for construction work and construction materials in many states, including New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria, Western Australian and Tasmania.
It also recommended that new road infrastructure be constructed to remove toxic materials from the environment.
“We believe that the best way to improve our air quality is to remove all sources of toxic materials,” said CCCe Dr James Laidlaw.
“Aluminium shinglings are not only used in many of our existing roads, but are also used in other parts of the country to provide insulation and to provide heat in buildings.
We also recommend that these shingled roads be used to improve the quality of air in cities, which is a major cause of pollution.”
Asphalt and asphalt shrapnelA study by the University of Sydney in 2010 found the use and production of asphalt and asphaltshrapnel was linked to elevated levels of airborne pollutants, such as PM10 and SO2.
It found the metal shinglers also emitted heavy metals such as arsenic and cadmium.
“Although it is not known exactly how many people are exposed to toxic metal shrapnel, a study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that up to 4,000 Australians may have been exposed to airborne pollutants,” the report said.
It added: “In NSW, the majority of the pollution was from the production and distribution of asphalt.
This resulted in the contamination of the soil and air around the road, which led to air quality concerns.”
In the past, the road was often used as a dumping ground for waste from nearby industrial areas.
“In a statement, the NSW Roads and Maritime Services said the state had been taking steps to mitigate the impacts of air pollution on public health.”
At the same time, NSW Government policy and legislation is being reviewed to ensure the most efficient and effective means to address the potential impacts of road dust and pollution on human health,” it wrote.
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