10 NZ Cities & Towns Unlikely To Meet Air Quality Standards By 2013

The Environment Minister Nick Smith admitted Wednesday that 10 NZ cities and towns are unlikely to meet air quality targets by the year 2013, saying that the overwhelming proportion of pollution is caused by home fires, and to a lesser extent vehicles.

For the effects of this type of pollution in NZ see NZ’s high winter death rate and burning wood to keep warm.

In 2007 the 10 highest concentrations of PM10s were at the following sampling shed locations (see graph below)
Nelson A
Nelaon B
Otago 1

So the goal posts are to going to be moved.

In a press release announcing a review of the terms of reference for a review of particulate air pollution standards the following statement was made:

“Dr Smith released (yesterday) the terms of reference and technical advisory group for a review of the national environmental standards for particulate air pollution under the Resource Management Act. The review delivers on National’s pre-election commitment and on concerns raised at the Jobs Summit.

“We are at the halfway mark between when the standards were set in 2005 and when they must be complied with by 2013 so it makes good sense to review progress. Air quality is critical to New Zealanders health and our clean green reputation. We are committed to ongoing improvements but want to ensure we have the policy and timetable right.

“We are making good progress in many parts of New Zealand in reducing air pollution but there are 10 cities and towns including Auckland and Christchurch that are unlikely to meet the standards by 2013.

“The implications for industry and employment are very serious as no renewed or new consents are allowed in air catchments where the standard is not met by 2013.

“The review needs to look at whether it is fair to solely punish industry for non-compliance when the overwhelming pollution is caused by home fires and, to a lesser degree, vehicles. It will also look at the costs and benefits of the air standard and the optimal timetable for achieving improvements.

“It also needs to take into account the Government’s significant $323 million commitment to home insulation and clean heating grants to assist Councils and households reduce energy waste and pollution.”

Read more here: PM10 review

Poor outdoor air quality is a significant issue in some areas of New Zealand, about two thirds of New Zealanders live in locations where they experience air pollution. Approx 1,100 people die prematurely in urban areas from air pollution every year

Highest 24-hour PM10 concentration in New Zealand airsheds, 2007

Click on image to enlarge