Bad smells draw most air complaints

What are the British, Australian, and New Zealand governments doing to stop air pollution?

Bad smells draw most air complaints

Postby Wilberforce » Sat Jun 27, 2015 6:37 pm

Bad smells draw most air complaints

By Kim Fulton
6:45 AM Wednesday Jun 17, 2015

Odour was the most common cause of complaints about Wairarapa's air in the past two years.

Greater Wellington Regional Council's team leader for environmental protection, Susan Smith, said there were 133 notifications relating to discharges to air in the Wairarapa area between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2014.

She said 69 of those related to odour and 46 to smoke. Other notifications were about chemical spray, dust, gas, solid waste and unauthorised burning.

Ms Smith said a notification of a discharge to air did not mean there had been a breach of regional rules or the Resource Management Act. A notification was purely a complaint lodged.

However, she said four abatement notices and four infringement notices were issued within the period relating to unauthorised discharges to air.

Air pollution is a concern for Masterton. Last month, the Wairarapa Times-Age reported the environmental standard for particulate PM10 - a small particle which can harm the lungs - was breached on 13 days last winter.

An even smaller particle, PM2.5, exceeded standards on 34 days.

The council's team leader air and climate, Tamsin Mitchell, said Masterton's air quality was to some degree at the whims of the weather. Low wind speeds and cold temperatures overnight meant air pollution from wood burners was not readily dispersed and could build up to unhealthy levels outdoors.

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research scientist Guy Coulson said poor air quality remained a health threat. Dr Coulson said raised levels of smoke and soot - known as PM10 - caused about 1000 premature deaths each year in New Zealand at the cost of about a billion dollars a year to society, according to the best estimates.

Some of the main illnesses caused by poor air quality were respiratory. Over the past decade, an association had also been found between pollution and cardiac problems, he said.

Air-quality issues in areas without traffic issues were generally a result of wood smoke. Small towns in low-lying areas were particularly affected. On colder nights when people used wood burners the weather tended to be still, which meant smoke did not get blown away, he said.

People should keep wood burners well maintained and use properly seasoned wood. Regional council websites provided tips on using a burner.

Still, New Zealand's air quality was not bad compared to other areas around the world, Dr Coulson said.

"Most places in New Zealand, the air quality's brilliant. There's just these small pockets where it isn't," he said.

"Compared to Chinese cities, for example, where you can't see more than a few hundred metres down the road because the air is so polluted, we're doing fine. But there's still room for improvement.

"There are still definite health problems and there are still economic and societal costs associated with it."

- Wairarapa Times-Age

By Kim Fulton

source ... d=11466376
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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