Home fires causing more air pollution
Winter has officially arrived and with it the home fires have been stoked, sending air-pollution levels rocketing.
In response to the upsurge in smoke entering the atmosphere the Auckland Council is urging people to consider their homeheating options.
Council environmental strategy and policy manager Ludo Campbell-Reid says research shows 11 tonnes of wood smoke particles from household fires are released into the atmosphere every winter’s day representing about 72 per cent of all the air-polluting emissions.
He says air pollution is a major health risk and causes about 300 premature deaths in Auckland each year.
The impact of ill-health and deaths in economic terms is esti- mated to be $1.07 billion a year.
Finding cleaner and cheaper sources of home heating should be on everyone’s agenda, Mr Campbell-Reid says.
‘‘As a first principle, making sure the house is well insulated means less heating is needed.
‘‘The cleanest heating option is a heat pump as it does not create smoke. If you do use domestic fires then burning dry, untreated wood in a modern ‘low emissions’ burner can reduce its harmful effects.’’
Burning treated wood is prohibited because it releases toxic chemicals such as arsenic into the air.
‘‘Indoor fires may look fantastic but they do not heat your home efficiently. In fact, only 15 per cent of the heat generated warms the house,’’ he says.
‘‘The remaining 85 per cent of the heat goes straight up the chimney.’’