Au­gust air not as bad as usual

Less pol­lu­tion in mild win­ter

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By CHE BAKER

A mild win­ter has meant less air pol­lu­tion in Cen­tral Otago and Ar­row­town this year. An Otago Re­gional Coun­cil (ORC) air qual­ity re­port shows Alexan­dra, Clyde and Ar­row­town had fewer high pol­lu­tion days last month com­pared with usual Au­gust fig­ures. It is con­sid­ered a high pol­lu­tion day, or ex­cee­dence of the Na­tional En­vi­ron­men­tal Stan­dard for air pol­lu­tion, if av­er­age daily PM10 con­cen­tra­tions are over 50 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­tre of air, or 50ig/m3. Cromwell recorded ex­cee­dences in Au­gust. Otago Air Zone 1, which in­cludes the four towns, has tra­di­tion­ally recorded some of the worst win­ter air pol­lu­tion in New Zealand. ORC di­rec­tor of en­vi­ron­men­tal in­for­ma­tion and sci­ence John Threlfall said ‘‘there has been an im­prove­ment (in air qual­ity) this year but we can’t ex­clude the fact the weather has been milder.’’

10 The win­ter has been one of the mildest since 2006. Ar­row­town, which recorded six ex­cee­dences in Au­gust last year, recorded none last month. Part of the im­prove­ment in air pol­lu­tion could be linked to more than 100 houses in the town hav­ing open fires re­moved and up­graded to ef­fi­cient heat­ing. ‘‘There’s clearly less smoke in the air and we know there are less coal and old fires [be­ing used],’’ he said. How­ever, the coun­cil re­ceived sev­eral com­plaints from Ar­row­town res­i­dents in the first week of July about pol­lu­tion dur­ing a cold snap. For 16 con­sec­u­tive days, be­tween June 29 to July 14, Ar­row­town recorded high pol­lu­tion days, with the high­est record­ing of 147ig/m3 on July 3. ‘‘When it gets re­ally cold peo­ple are go­ing to crank up their fires,’’ Mr Threlfall said. There was still a lot to do to de­crease air pol­lu­tion in the area, he said.

Photo: CHE BAKER

Typ­i­cal: A typ­i­cal win­ter’s day of smog over Clyde and Alexan­dra last week.

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