Hastings exceeded the national air quality standards for a second time on Friday (6 July).
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s monitor at St Johns in Hastings recorded an average level of 52 micrograms of PM10 (very small particles) per cubic metre of air over the 24 hour period to midnight Friday. The limit is 50 micrograms PM10/m3.
“It was the usual frosty and windless conditions which mean people use their wood burners to keep cosy. We don’t want anyone to be cold, but smoke builds up under those weather conditions,” says Dr Kathleen Kozyniak, HBRC air quality scientist.
“It would help if people used other means of heating if they have them. Also people with burners should check they are using dry, untreated wood as that produces a heat haze from the chimney rather than smoke.”
Across the plains an inversion layer can trap warm, smoky air close to the ground and around homes. The PM10 in the smoke is a health issue both inside and outside homes, especially for people with respiratory problems.
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council still offers the Heat Smart scheme by providing financial assistance to encourage people to replace their wood burners with air conditioners/heat pumps and to improve the insulation in their homes. Wood burners installed before 2005 are illegal because they burn inefficiently.
National Environmental Standard – Air Quality
The National Environmental Standard (NES) for air quality sets an acceptable limit for small smoke particulate matter in the air (PM10) of 50 micrograms per cubic metre averaged over 24 hours.
Since September 2016, Napier may only exceed the limit once a year, which it has done already this winter. Hastings can exceed no more than three times, before reducing to only one exceedance a year by September 2020.
Tips for keeping warm while keeping smoke levels low -
- Insulate your home well, reducing draughts
- Burn dry, untreated wood only.
9 July 2018
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