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Invercargill records first air quality exceedance for 2022

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Two months into our winter air quality monitoring period, Invercargill has recorded its first exceedance of the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality.

On Monday 27 June, the Pomona Street monitoring site recorded a 24-hour average PM10 concentration of 53 micrograms/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre of air), just over the standards’ threshold of 50 micrograms/m3.

Environment Southland air quality scientist Owen West said readings for Invercargill had been increasing over the last two months.

"With readings above the threshold or even just below, the smell of smoke can be really obvious and also quite visible. For many people, this makes the simple task of breathing more difficult, especially for those who are more susceptible to health complications, such as children, the elderly and others with respiratory conditions."

"Keeping the fire burning hot and bright, burning only dry wood, not banking your fire overnight and ensuring the chimney is swept and the burner maintained will all help reduce the volume of smoke and is a big step to cleaner air this winter," he said.

"Last winter, Southland made fantastic progress with Invercargill and Gore having their best air quality results on record over the winter period."

The Regional Air Plan includes rules to help improve air quality. Non-compliant burners are being progressively phased out. As of January 2022 any burner in Invercargill and Gore that was installed before 1 January 2001 must now be replaced by a compliant burner.

Environment Southland operates a Good Wood approved suppliers scheme which firewood retailers voluntarily agree to be part of, details of which can be found online.

For further information on what else you can do to improve air quality, go to www.BreatheEasySouthland.co.nz.

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