South-west Sydney residents reveal their hot weather struggles

Photo: Jessica Hromas
Photo: Jessica Hromas

As south-west Sydney continues to grow, so do soaring summer temperatures.

And residents have expressed their struggles with the heat in the recent 2020/21 Sweltering Cities Sydney Summer Survey.

The survey report, released yesterday, asked how people feel the heat at home, how extreme heat affects their health, whether COVID-19 has impacted their heatwave safety plans and what policies or local solutions they support.

Sweltering Cities director Emma Bacon said the organisation was reaching out and listening to people who are sweltering in hot homes and suburbs over summer.

"We want to know how people are feeling the heat across the country. Too often, the images we see during heatwaves are of people at the beach, but that doesn't tell the real story of summer in Australia," she said.

"Heatwaves are our deadliest environmental disaster and people are baking in hot homes. On average, the 27th of January is the deadliest day for heat related deaths in Australia.

"We're also collecting ideas for local solutions. Most people support greener suburbs, higher standards for energy efficient cool homes, services for people who are at risk from heat related illnesses and better infrastructure for more sustainable and liveable cities."

More than 680 people from 168 postcodes in Sydney have completed the survey so far.

The majority of the respondents came from Campbelltown.

"Survey results show the vast majority of people who suffer in the extreme heat of summer, think the way their suburb is built increases heat, and believe their political representatives should have policies on heat," the survey report stated.

"People described the significant impact on mental and physical health of sleeplessness during hot nights with words like: 'lethargic', 'unfocused', 'listless', 'tired' and 'unmotivated'."

Of the people surveyed, 75 per cent had air conditioning at home, but of those people 78 per cent worry about the cost of using their air conditioner.

The survey found that 55 per cent of people with air conditioning sometimes don't turn it on because of the cost.

It also found that 31 per cent of the people who responded would leave their home for a cooler location when it gets too hot.

More than 50 per cent of the survey respondents have either experienced heat stroke, or know someone who has.

The survey also found that 95 per cent of the people surveyed think Sydney summers are only going to get hotter.