Blockade targets trucks' diesel emissions

A child at the November 12 rally. Photo: Narelle Wilson.

About 200 residents blockaded Somerville Road during morning rush hour in the inner-west Melbourne suburb of Kingsville on November 12 to protest against the number of container trucks using the street.

Somerville Road is a two-lane residential road that carries 3000 trucks a day. There are three primary schools and a kindergarten nearby with 1500 children enrolled.

The protest was organised by Maribyrnong Truck Action Group (MTAG) and heard from Maribyrnong Mayor Grant Miles, MTAG president Samantha McArthur, and Merryn Redenbach from Doctors for the Environment.

Redenbach spoke about the dangers to children, whose lungs are still developing, from diesel pollution from trucks.

MTAG secretary Martin Wurt told Green Left Weekly the protest was a great success. “There were tons of kids, over 200 people, a couple of kids got up and spoke about what it's like sharing the road with the trucks.”

The protest called for a ban on trucks along the street during school crossing times. A petition by MTAG, on the Change.org website, explains that “school crossing time is the most congested and slow moving time for traffic ... trucks are operating at their least efficient and most polluting level, especially under heavy load as they take off from the crossings.”

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