A drop in overnight temperatures resulted in air quality standards being exceeded overnight in both Hastings and Napier.
The Regional Council’s air quality monitoring equipment recorded in Marewa Park, Napier, an average of 61 micrograms per cubic metre of PM10 particles, and at St John’s College, Hastings 86 micrograms / cubic metre.
The standards require that, in any 24-hour period, the average concentration of PM10 in the air should not be more than 50 micrograms/cubic metre. PM10 is the small particles (particulate matter) found in smoke and other sources that can enter the lungs, and cause or exacerbate respiratory health problems.
Both the Napier and Hastings monitoring sites are located in residential areas and home wood burners are the main source of smoke in the air in winter. An inversion layer can form during cold, still conditions over the plains areas which means smoke is not able to disperse so is trapped close to the ground.
So far this winter Hastings has exceeded the limit 3 times while this is the first for Napier.
To help improve the health and warmth of their homes, 300 householders have now taken advantage of Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s HeatSmart programme to upgrade their home insulation and clean heating.