Farmer burn offs are leaving towns covered in smoke and threatening the lives of those with breathing difficulties, according to one concerned asthmatic.
Last week, smoke from local rice growers burning their stubble blew over Darlington Point, blanketing the town in a dark, ashy haze for three days.
Deep in the smoke, 75-year-old asthmatic James Tongue woke up from a nap and came to a sudden realisation - he couldn't breathe.
"I had been sleeping near an open window and when I woke up there was smoke absolutely everywhere. I quickly got up and I couldn't breathe at all."
Mr Tongue had his asthma puffer nearby and was quickly able to recover, but the experience has made him worry about other people who might not be so lucky.
...there was smoke absolutely everywhere. I quickly got up and I couldn't breathe at allJames Tongue, Darlington Point resident
"What frightens me is that someone is going to be down at the shops or out for a walk when it blows in," he said. "If they've forgotten their puffer they're not going to make it home."
"Darlington Point is made up of a lot of old people and that includes a lot of people with heart problems and yet we're not warned when there is a burn off that is going to send smoke over the town."
Smoke from burn offs is a common sight on the MIA horizon, but Mr Tongue believes the practice is putting lives on the line and more needs to be done to protect the vulnerable.
"There has got to be a better way of doing it and there has got to be a way of warning a township," Mr Tongue said.
"There's no good in saying 'oh my god we shouldn't have done this' after someone is hurt."
Earlier this year, the MIA's ricegrowers were urged to keep the community in mind when burning stubble.
The Ricegrowers Association of Australia's environment projects manager Neil Bull told growers to take all possible steps to minimise the adverse effects of smoke on neighbours and neighbouring townships.
The impact of stubble burning on the local community has been a hot topic in Griffith since smoke from 2016 burn offs left 12 people in hospital.
The same wave of smoke also led to calls for Griffith City Council to monitor air quality levels and warn residents of dangerous amounts of smoke.
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