For the first time this winter no air pollution exceedences were recorded by Environment Canterbury in Waimate. Ten high pollution days were monitored last year during the period stretching from May 1 to August 31. Previous measurements in 2002 and 2003 recorded one and six high pollution nights respectively.
Environment Canterbury’s director operations, Ken Lawn, says the fact that no high air pollution nights were recorded in Waimate can probably be attributed to weather conditions. “Most urban centres in Canterbury, other than Timaru, this year experienced fewer frosts and temperature inversions, more wind and more cloud – conditions which result in less pollution. But the fact that recently open fires and older wood burners in 36 homes were replaced with heatpumps and pellet fires in a ‘clean air trade-off’ initiative with New Zealand Dairies Ltd, most likely also contributed to the absence of high air pollution recordings.”
Ken Lawn also noted that last winter the prolonged snow period increased air pollution levels well above what is normally expected in several towns.
He says early indications are that the natural rate of replacement of older wood burners and open fires should be sufficient for Waimate to meet the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality (NES) by 2013.