BENDIGO'S air quality remained unmonitored this week, despite pollution warnings issued for the entire state and visibility close to hazardous levels on Monday.
The city has a mobile air quality monitoring unit, which has not been activated.
Bendigo remains without a permanent air quality monitoring site, even though the Environment Protection Authority and the Auditor General have both recommended one be introduced.
The EPA runs air quality monitoring in Victoria.
The EPA introduced an incident mobile air quality monitoring unit into Bendigo in 2017, but it was not activated this week.
These units are designed to be run by State Emergency Service volunteers.
In a statement, the EPA said the air monitoring unit was deployed when an incident was considered to be longer-term and smoke-producing.
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The statement said monitoring in the current emergency situation was appropriately focused in the heavily impacted zones of East Gippsland and north-east Victoria.
Air quality in a number of these places was labelled very poor to hazardous for much of the past week. Melbourne also experienced poor to hazardous air quality on Monday.
Visibility at Bendigo Airport was down to 2.5 kilometres on Monday.
Anything less than 1.5 kilometres air quality is considered to be in hazardous levels. Visibility on a clear day can be 10 kilometres or greater.
Read more: Health warning as smoke haze hits Bendigo
Health warnings for bushfire smoke have been issued across Victoria since Monday.
Those with pre-existing heart and lung conditions, respiratory illnesses, under 14, over 65, or pregnant have been warned to stay indoors and avoid exercise.
The 2018 Auditor General's report Improving Victoria's Air Quality recommended the EPA design and implement an air monitoring program that lined up coverage with risks to Victorian communities, such as Bendigo.
A 2001 EPA plan recommended all cities with populations above 25,000 have air quality monitoring stations, but no changes had been made, the report stated.
Bendigo's population was about 110,000 in 2016. In 2001 it sat near 85,000.
Most of the EPA's permanent air monitoring sites are located in Melbourne, or the Latrobe Valley, home to a number of brown coal power plants. Wangaratta, Point Cook and Geelong South also have permanent monitoring sites.
There are no permanent air quality monitoring sites in central Victoria.
The EPA said Bendigo was on the list for general air pollution monitoring in 2020, designed to measure major air pollutants such as PM 2.5 particles.
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