Get tough threat as fires spew filth

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By PET­RICE TAR­RANT

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.

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