|1||Coonabarabran, New South Wales|
|2||Wallsend, New South Wales|
|4||Muswellbrook, New South Wales|
|5||The Gap, Queensland|
|6||Carrington, New South Wales|
|9||Mount Isa, Queensland|
|10||Adelaide, South Australia|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good|| 5 US AQI||PM2.5|
|PM2.5|| 1.2 µg/m³|
PM2.5 concentration in Geelong air currently meets the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Open your windows to bring clean, fresh air indoors|
|Enjoy outdoor activities|
|Sunday, Jan 16|
Good 14 US AQI
|Monday, Jan 17|
Good 21 US AQI
|Tuesday, Jan 18|
Good 19 US AQI
|Wednesday, Jan 19|
Good 29 US AQI
Good 5 US AQI
|Friday, Jan 21|
Good 15 US AQI
|Saturday, Jan 22|
Good 21 US AQI
|Sunday, Jan 23|
Good 19 US AQI
|Monday, Jan 24|
Good 22 US AQI
|Tuesday, Jan 25|
Good 28 US AQI
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Geelong, a port city located approximately 75 kilometres south-west of Victoria’s capital city Melbourne, is the state’s second largest city by population following its neighbour. Geelong, like much of Australia, generally experiences relatively healthy air quality most of the year round. However, it is also vulnerable to experiencing short-term extreme air pollution spikes, most frequently caused by bushfires and dust storms. Victoria experiences a range of common air pollutants, including particulate matter, ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide; however, among these, particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) and ground-level ozone (O3) are of highest concern within the state. This is due to these pollutants’ persistent presence in the air, their health impacts, and the number of sources contributing towards their emission.1
According to IQAir’s 2019 World Air Quality Report, Geelong ranked as the 9th most polluted location out of the 14 measured within Victoria, averaging a 2019 PM2.5 concentration of 6.9 μg/m3. This value achieves the Australian air quality standard for annual PM2.5 (8 μg/m3), as well as the World Health Organisation’s annual PM2.5 target (10 μg/m3). This also ranked Geelong as the 55th most polluted city of 95 measured in Australia during 2019. For broader global comparison, this rates Geelong’s annual PM2.5 as slightly worse than Stockholm’s air pollution (6.1 μg/m3), and the air quality in Wellington City, New Zealand (6.7 μg/m3), but slightly cleaner than the New York’s air pollution (7 μg/m3).2
Real-time information is displayed within the Geelong air quality map at the top of this page, along with live wildfire updates. These data, along with a 7-day Geelong air quality forecast, are also available on-the-go using IQAir AirVisual air pollution app.
The main sources of air pollution within Victoria, including Geelong, come from both anthropogenic (human-influenced) and natural activities. Victoria air pollution is significantly influenced by contributions from motor vehicle emissions and power generation, while major sources of particulate matter pollution include smoke from bushfires, prescribed burns and wood heaters, as well as industrial activities. Particulate matter is also affected by contributions from natural sources including sea salt and dust. Conversely, ozone is not directly emitted from any one source (as a primary pollutant), but rather is a secondary pollutant, which is created through chemical reactions between other pollutants in the atmosphere. Ozone is typically formed through the reaction of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrous oxides, in the presence of sunlight. Accordingly, high ozone levels are most likely to occur during hot and sunny conditions, with temperatures over 30°C and light breezes.1
Researchers predict that Victoria’s air quality will face a changing set of challenges into the future, along with environmental and population shifts. For example, the population within Melbourne and Geelong is predicted to increase by 45% from 2006 to 2030.3 With this population growth, while transport fuel efficiency is also anticipated to become cleaner and more efficient during this period, demand for private transport is expected to grow, with the possibility of increased vehicular emissions. This population growth is also anticipated to increase demand for power, and there will be more people in total (particularly with an ageing population) exposed to the negative health effects of existing air pollution, which could increase the overall health burden to Victoria. Meanwhile, rising global temperatures as part of climate change are anticipated to exacerbate droughts and temperature-driven smog events; hot and dry conditions may also increase the likelihood and severity of dust storms and bushfires into the future. All these factors combine to make combatting the sources of air pollution within Geelong and Victoria a high priority for citizens, as well as the Victorian EPA.3
Exposure to air pollution can contribute to a range of short- and long-term health effects. While Geelong generally experiences a low level of air pollution most of the year-round, a growing body of research indicates that air pollution can pose significant health risks to humans, even at low concentrations.1 The long-term health impacts of particulate matter pollution include the increased risk of developing cardiovascular and respiratory conditions such as chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, stroke, and lung cancer, as well as increased mortality. Short-term effects can also include the irritation of eyes, nose and throat, as well as the aggravation of existing conditions such as asthma. While PM pollution is the pollutant group with the largest body of research to support its correlation with such health impacts on people, and its extensive impact on people due to its widespread presence around the world, research also shows some health effects of ozone exposure. Health effects of exposure to ground-level ozone have been shown to include an increase in asthma incidence and severity, reduced lung function, and asthma-related hospital admissions.1 Therefore, even despite Geelong’s air quality remaining at relatively low levels most of the year round, it is important to be aware of air pollution’s negative health risks, and take precautions to minimise exposure to Geelong air pollution during elevated periods, which may arise due to fires or other causes.
Victoria’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is responsible for monitoring Victoria air pollution across the state, in order to try to ensure that air quality achieves Australia’s broader Air NEPM standards. Accordingly, the Victoria runs a network of government air quality sensors in key locations, including a station located in Geelong South. This monitoring station measures PM2.5, PM10, carbon monoxide (CO), sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), and visibility. Rather than follow Australia’s broader system of using an air quality index to communicate a Geelong Air Quality Index, or Geelong AQI, Victoria’s EPA instead communicates air quality levels to the public using ‘air quality categories’. These 5 categories are colour-coded, from “Good” (green) up to “Hazardous” (deep red). Each category is accompanied with relevant health advisories, and in this way, the Victoria EPA aims to quickly convey sometimes complex air pollution measurements to its citizens, in an easy-to-understand way, and empower Victorians to respond to air pollution when necessary.4
+ Article resources
 Victoria EPA. “Air pollution in Victoria – a summary of the state of knowledge”. Victoria EPA website, August, 2018.
 IQAir. “2019 World Air Quality Report”. IQAir website, March 18, 2020.
 Australian Government. “Australia State of the Environment 2016: Pollution Sources”. Australia State of the Environment website, 2016.
 Victoria EPA. “Air quality categories on EPA AirWatch”. Victoria EPA website, January 2, 2020.
Data sources 2