Hastings exceeded the national air quality standards for a third time on Friday (20 July), just two weeks after the previous exceedance.
Three exceedances of the National Environmental Standard (NES) for Air Quality is the maximum allowed for Hastings, and the goal is to reduce the city to only one exceedance a year by September 2020. Napier can only exceed the limit once a year, which it has done already this winter.
Over the 24 hour period to midnight Friday, 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, just over the limit set in the NES of 50 micrograms PM10/m3.
Monitoring results are available on the air quality page on this website or go to LAWA (where you can see graphs: go to Towns > Hastings > Sites and scroll to St Johns > Scientific data, and on the dashboard open Show More Information and scroll down to PM10 and wind info).
“The average PM10 was 27 micrograms per cubic metre up until 7pm, then we had a number of hours with concentrations exceeding 100 micrograms, which blew out the average for the day,” says Dr Kathleen Kozyniak, HBRC air quality scientist.
“People using wood 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 when there is no wind to move it away. 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 offers the Heat Smart scheme which provided 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 – damp wood produces less heat, more smoke; treated wood contains harmful chemicals.
24 July 2018
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