Get tough threat as fires spew filth
A controversial by-law shelved due to community outrage will be revisited if Tokoroa doesn’t clean up its act.
Tokoroa has an air quality problem during winter months that doesn’t seem to be going away.
Factors such as old woodburners and the burning of wet, unseasoned wood are contributing to high PM10 levels in the air, according to the South Waikato District Council.
It said breathing in the emissions is harmful to health; it can cause breathing difficulties and heart disease.
The council drafted a proposed Clean Air Bylaw that would require the residents to personally fork out to remove old woodburners and replace them with new energy efficient products; however the community spoke out against this at the time and the council decided to target the issue through existing and new air quality schemes instead.
‘‘Our air quality was a little better last year, but it still isn’t where it needs to be. If things don’t improve soon, the council will need to look at introducing the bylaw again,’’ council’s group manager regulatory Sharon Robinson said.
The council still has funding available for compliant clean heating, as well as central government funding for insulation that the council can help organise.
It has several schemes to assist the community with smarter burning, including Warm Homes Clean Air (aimed at low income homes), Heat Swap (anyone can apply) and Burnwise (good wood suppliers endorsed by the council).
POLLUTION SOLUTION: Check to see if your fireplace is contributing to Tokoroa’s dirty air pocket.