Locked-in Melbourne residents burn from wood supply

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Many in the industry attribute the surge in demand to the current foreclosure of Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, with people spending unprecedented time at home.

Robert Eddy, of Eddy Haulage, a 40-year veteran of the lumber industry, said demand started to increase in 2019.

“Last year I saw my demand for firewood double and this trend was repeated again this year,” he said.

Another supplier, who declined to be named for business reasons, said this year has been “absolutely crazy”.

“More people are burning wood this year than any other year,” he said.

The company had to stop taking new customers to make sure it could meet demand.

“With this pandemic going on, everyone is stuck at home, everyone wants their fireplaces to work… and those who don’t are putting fireplaces in the backyard because they can’t. of the campsite, ”said the supplier.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that around 10 percent of Victorian households use wood as their primary source of heating.

While COVID-19 closures have led to a reduction in vehicle-derived air pollutants, the increased use of wood-burning appliances may be responsible for the increased levels of PM2.5 particles in the air.

“Exceedances of the threshold limits for PM2.5 have certainly been observed in Geelong, Alphington, Melton and Mooroolbark – possibly due to the increase in air pollutants from wood-fired heating,” said Peter Irga, postdoctoral researcher in air quality research. at Sydney University of Technology.

Dr Irga said it would take time for this to be confirmed by the evaluation of the data.

In June, the Australian Medical Association backed Darebin Mayor Susan Rennie’s call for the Victorian government to put in place a wood-burning appliance buy-back program, citing the damage they could cause to health and the environment.

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