For the first time since monitoring began, Hastings air quality for June was exceedance free.
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council started continuous testing for air quality in Napier and Hastings in 2006.
Dr Kathleen Kozyniak, the Council’s Climate and Air scientist, relies on technical equipment based at Marewa Park and St John’s College to measure the National Environmental Standard (NES) for particulate matter (PM10). An exceedance is any reading above 50 micrograms per cubic metre averaged over 24 hours.
“Health wise, any winter month without an exceedance is a win for Napier and Hastings residents,” says Dr Kozyniak.
“The weather itself may have played a part, but I think people’s efforts to adopt clean forms of heat are reaping benefits. The aim is to have no more than one exceedance per year by 2020. If we continue to decrease our emissions we should make it,” adds Kozyniak.
Before the Council’s HeatSmart programme began in 2009, there were a high number of annual exceedences, particularly in Hastings and to a lesser degree in Napier. These appear to be reducing. HBRC’s Client Services Manager Mark Heaney oversees the HeatSmart programme.
“Since HeatSmart started, more than 9,500 fireplaces have been upgraded or replaced, along with insulation retrofits and upgrades in many homes,” says Mr Heaney.
“In spite of the inversion layer over both cities on cold, still winter nights, the number of exceedences each year has generally been tracking down.”
Open fires inside households in Napier and Hastings airsheds were outlawed in 2012. Non-compliants woodburners will be prohibited for use from January 2018 for Hastings, and from January 2020 for Napier. There are no restrictions on woodburners outside the city airshed areas.
4 October 2017
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