State of the Environment 2018

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) today released the State of the Environment 2018 report which is available for the first time on a purpose-built interactive website that will have the ability for data to be updated on a regular basis.

EPA Acting Chair and CEO Mark Gifford said the State of the Environment 2018, produced by the EPA working with other government agencies, helped to inform decision makers and the community about essential elements of our environment, including our land, water, air and ecosystems, and our urban environment.

“There have been a number of key environmental improvements across NSW in the 25 years since the first State of the Environment report was handed down in 1993,” Mr Gifford said.

“The report highlights areas where government, community and industry efforts are leading to benefits, with less household and industry waste going to landfill, a significant decrease in litter, good air quality, and renewable energy generation rising rapidly.

“The report also shows that the NSW economy is shifting to be less resource-intensive and more services-based, which has reduced environmental impacts. This shows that economic growth and a better environment can be mutual goals.”

Electricity generation has seen a strong increase in the use of renewable, low emissions sources, from 11% in 2014 to 16% in 2017. Over the three years to June 2016, total NSW and ACT energy consumption declined by almost 6%.

Mr Gifford said the report showed that population growth continued to be a key driver of changes to the environment.

“By 2036 the population of NSW is expected to grow to 9.9 million people with the majority of this growth expected to be in Sydney. This growth brings challenges for our environment and resource use.

“Climate change continues to pose a significant threat. Counteracting these effects requires collaborative action at a state, national and global level to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build the resilience of the environment for the future.”

The transport sector (road, rail, maritime and air) is one of the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. In 2015–16, transport was responsible for almost 21% of greenhouse gas emissions in NSW.

Mr Gifford said by producing the State of the Environment report, the government and the community can monitor environmental indicators and can track progress.

“Having the report released every three years means all agencies can continue to work together on environmental improvements now and into the future.”