The Greens have called for Illawarra coal train wagons to be covered amid concerns over the health risks of coal dust particles in the region.
Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon met concerned Northern Illawarra residents at Bellambi's railway station last week and said better air quality regulation and monitoring was needed.
"There is too little protection for communities up and down the coal train line from the health hazards of ... coaldust pollution," Senator Rhiannon said.
"Coal train wagons must be covered and air quality monitored against world class national air quality standards that reflect the true potential risk to community health."
She said the issue was a growing concern in the Illawarra and called on state and federal governments to act immediately to improve air quality.
But just which agency is responsible for regulating coaldust levels and their health risks is unclear, with two state government bodies yesterday saying the other was responsible.
"Any question about health and what the health risks are for coaldust and [whether it is] safe, what the evidence there is should go to NSW Health," an Environment Protection Authority spokeswoman said.
The Health Department passed it back to the EPA.
"The EPA is responsible for monitoring air quality; this is not the jurisdiction of NSW Health," a NSW Health spokeswoman said.
This will give no comfort to Bellambi resident Jenni Dall, who just wants action over what she says is an increasing problem in her suburb.
"We get coaldust on our window sills, five or six blocks away from the rail line but I've done some research and it's the little particles you can't see that are the real problem."