The NSW EPA has released its 2018 State of the Environment report – available for the first time on a purpose built interactive website with the capacity for regular data updates.
EPA CEO Mark Gifford said the report will be used to inform decision makers and the wider community about essential elements of the 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 lists two indicator status’ as moderate, total waste generation and per person waste generation.
Total and per person solid waste disposal, total and per person solid waste recycled and litter items per 1000 meters squared are listed as good.
Mr Gifford said the report also shows how the NSW economy has shifted to become less resource intensive and more services based, resulting in positive environmental outcomes.
“This shows that economic growth and a better environment can be mutual goals,” Mr Gifford said.
“Electricity generation has seen a strong increase in the use of renewable, low emissions sources, from 11 per cent in 2014 to 16 per cent in 2017. Over the three years to June 2016, total NSW and ACT energy consumption declined by almost six per cent.”
According to Mr Gifford, the report shows population growth continues 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, which brings challenges for our environment and resource use,” Mr Gifford said.
“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 report will be used by government and the community to monitor environmental indicators and 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,” Mr Gifford said.