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NSW State of the environment 2021 11.14 MB

This report has been prepared by the NSW EPA to provide a snapshot in time of the status of the main environmental issues facing the state. The State of the Environment is updated every three years and brings together information and data from across all NSW Government agencies with responsibility for managing the state’s environmental assets.

The report is structured around six broad themes and 22 separate topics within those themes.

Key findings:

  • Air quality is generally good, drinking water quality has been maintained at a high quality and the recreational water quality of our beaches continues to be good.
  • The overall rate of greenhouse gas emissions has fallen 17% since 2005.
  • The proportion of electricity generated from renewable resources has grown steadily from about 16% in 2017 to 19% in 2020. Growth in renewables (solar and wind power) has more than doubled over the past five years to 2020.
  • The NSW economy is now predominantly services based and is therefore less reliant on the consumption of natural resources. There is clear evidence that carbon emissions have been decoupling from economic growth over an extended period of time and that growth in the economy is not being achieved at the expense of the environment.
  • The NSW Government’s Waste Less, Recycle More program has continued to be effective in managing waste, with littering down and new recycling facilities opening for problem wastes.
  • About 9.6% of NSW is conserved in the public reserve system. The rate of new reservations has increased markedly, with around 305,000 ha being added to reserves since 2018. Joint management agreements are in place with Aboriginal traditional owners across about 30% of the parks estate.
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