Positive results for air quality in Gisborne
Air quality in Gisborne is generally good, according to a report.
The main cause of air pollution is smoke from wood fires in the winter months, while vehicle emissions also impact on air quality all year round.
The National Environmental Standards for Air Quality (NESAQ) set a minimum level of health protection for New Zealanders.
Local councils are required to monitor levels of particulate matter of less than 10 micrometres in diameter (PM10) to meet the set health protection levels.
In Gisborne, there was only one occasion when this level was exceeded in 2018 and 2019.
Air quality has been monitored from a representative site at Gisborne Boys' High School since 2004, using equipment that measures levels of particulate matter in the air every minute, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
This equipment was upgraded to more modern technology earlier this year, and is now measuring PM2.5 as well as PM10.
Breathing in these tiny suspended smoke particles can be harmful when larger deposits (between 2.5 and 10 micrometres) end up in the airways, lungs or enter the bloodstream.
A project using low-cost sensors over the winter of 2018 showed spatial differences in air quality around the city, largely related to the use of wood fires and proximity to main roads.
Households can help improve air quality by ensuring they use suitable, dry firewood (not treated timber) and keep chimneys cleaned and maintained.
In Tairawhiti, all trade and industrial premises that discharge air pollutants are required to hold resource consents, or demonstrate an ability to meet stringent standards to control these pollutants.
Concerning pollutants include sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and carbon monoxide.
This region reflects many of the trends being seen nationally, described in Our Air 2018, which can be found at https://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/environmental-reporting/our-air-2018, published by the Ministry for the Environment.