Record low number of air quality exceedances
Invercargill and Gore have recorded the best air quality results since monitoring began, for our latest winter monitoring season (1 May – 1 September).
Gore recorded zero exceedances of the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality, meaning it met the necessary legislative requirements. In the same period, Invercargill recorded just three exceedances. While this is above the required standard of no more than one exceedance in a 12 month period, it is the city’s best results on record.
Air quality scientist Owen West said this is excellent news for the health of Southlanders and it is a good indication that people are making an effort to reduce the pollution from home heating appliances, which are the biggest contributor to air pollution in Invercargill and Gore.
“We know our results are affected by weather conditions and we have been lucky to have a relatively mild winter, but to see such good results after much higher exceedance numbers in 2020 is a really positive sign.
“We hope that we are starting to see the changes those within the community are making having a real impact – burning dry wood, upgrading to cleaner heating sources and being more aware of how they operate their burners.”
Mr West said reduced exceedances and improved air quality are all positives for our community’s health and something we need to see continue.
“We’re definitely on the right track, but any day of poor air quality can impact on the health of our community, so we can’t afford to get complacent.”
Home heating remains the area where people can make the biggest difference to our air quality.
The Regional Air Plan includes rules to help improve air quality, with open fires now prohibited in the Invercargill and Gore airsheds. Non-compliant burners are being progressively phased out and replaced with heat pumps or more efficient compliant fires. Help is available for people within the Invercargill and Gore airsheds through the Clean Air Loans scheme to help them move to cleaner forms of heating.
Environment Southland operates a Good Wood approved suppliers scheme which firewood retailers voluntarily agree to be part of.
For further information on the Clean Air Loans scheme, Good Wood suppliers and what else you can do to improve air quality, go to www.BreatheEasySouthland.co.nz.